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CIGDEM ASLAN/A Thousand Cranes: We know she isn't singing in German but the way she sings about loss and wandering with such an old school vibe to it that you might think she's trying to be the new Marlene Dietrich---and she's doing a good job of it despite having to reach over time and cultures. The hard core world beater won't hear this as just another ethnic record but will be sure to recognize the care and craft that's gone into it at every level to make this so much more than a gift shop/restaurant record no matter how remote you are from the core of the action. Killer stuff to open the ears and the mind.

KOTTARASHKY & the Rain Dogs/Cats, Dogs & Ghosts: Bulgarians on the loose in Sofia doing left field jazz rock with ethnic overtones that takes you to places you've only heard in dreams, even if that's a cliché from another locality. This is the future of Balkan sounds and it's pretty wild.

RIK WRIGHT'S FUNDAMENTAL FORCES/Subtle Energy: While he might seem only a step or two removed from ambient music, this guitarist has a tad too much vision and muscularity to be mistaken for such. Certainly an offbeat release, largely in line with his color themed records catalog, Wright is an after hours go to cat pioneering the opium den swing genre. Wild sounds emanating from such a laid back enterprise adds up to a nice surprise. Check it out.

JACAM MANRICKS/Chamber Jazz: The title is a red herring. This isn't Sunday afternoon arts council music by a long shot. With muscular and angular playing leading the way, you might get a whiff of a jazz meets classical vibe but since the tunes are mostly well crafted originals, things here just don't look that far back. Hip without being hipster, there's loads of daddio in the mix but it's been groomed for today's ears. Quite a welcome treat from a multi-instrumental pro that gives you plenty to get off on. Well done

MARK MURPHY/Slip Away: Not exactly a jazz record, not exactly a vocal record and certainly not a new set by the scat vocalist that recently passed, this jazzbo Murphy brings his guitar in to what old timers could call a tribute to Kenny Rankin. With pleasing covers and smooth originals, Murphy makes a dandy listening record that's a must for laid back and easy times when some comfortable listening is just the thing to put the cherry on top of the sundae. Nicely done.

FIONA BOYES/Professin' the Blues: With her latest release we can now let the cat out of the bag. Fiona is Boyes middle name, her first name is The Great. Taking her place with the other funky, white girls that like to play like they are from the down and dirty side of town, Boyes is sounding like she's on the run from Piedmont and the delta with hell hounds on her tail and they think she's a steak. With an audio team that puts her front and center in your face, this award magnet in her native Australia and a solid comer here, using her amazing command of all the authentic, traditional moves, particularly no matter what instrument she's picking on, she will just blow you all the way away. A simple, most unadorned presentation, never sounded so hot before. Killer stuff throughout.

GENE ESS/Absurdist Theater: Here's a jazzbo that likes to see himself as a philosopher that speaks through music instead of words. Looking at absurdity and nothingness this time around, it does play something like a theater piece and could easily find a home with the left leaning jazzbo that looks at the world through other worldly prisms. Kind of a deep think piece that you really don't have to work at listening to, Ess enjoys being a mind and ear opener constantly breaking down walls.

DAVE KELLER/Right Back Atcha: A first class blue eyed soul man that knows how to heat it up Memphis show room style even when recording with his Vermont home boys in the wilds of the frozen north, Keller has defeated many comers for longevity in this sphere because he has got real soul---the kind that stays the course and goes the distance. Hot and heavy stuff throughout that is sure to motivate a bunch of white boys to try and do it too because he makes it sound so easy, everybody would be better off to drop the pretense and just sit back (if possible) and enjoy this. Check it out.

Volume 39/Number 324
September 22, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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