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MICIC ABERCROMBIE BERNSTEIN LUND/Inspired. Here's an album no guitar fan can argue with. Four contemporary greats comes together for solos and duets, all of it inspired by Jim Hall. He might not have been a big seller, but he was the Velvet Underground of jazz guitar as it seems like everyone that ever bought one of his records picked up the ax and swung it jazz style. Simply a master class of master guitar playing that might not please metal heads but will mesmerize everyone else. Killer stuff.

HUANG RUO/Red Rain: On paper, this is exactly the kind of record we should be smirking at as art/something or another---but we're not. A collection of solo instrumentals by a well decorated award winner, Ruo shows he knows how to grab center spotlight and hold it. Certainly spare and Spartan, Ruo is accomplished enough that he doesn't need any help to raise the roof or hold your attention, a feat only a wreally wracally wrabbit could pull off. Call it what you will but this takes contemporary classical to new places you never expected. Well done.

JOHN GIBSON/Traces: Found sounds and nu electronics in contemporary classical? Tell the truth, you'd rather hear when Gibson is up to than pots and pans music. Taking Steve Reich into the next generation for nu ears, minimalism meets futuristic crime music on a strange noir corner that you might only wan tot overlook from a window a few floors up. As easily next stage trance music as it can be anything else, this is art music that you can't make fun of. Check it out.

NEIL ROLNICK/Ex Machina: In which we find the laptop being integral to the instrumentation on this double discer where various disparate personalities are placed into the machine as the parts create the whole. Smart experimental music for experimental ears that don't want to wander far a field. It's certainly not date night music, but if Sunday afternoon arts & leisure is your thing...this could easily be a nice element to place a little angularity in your mix. Wild but not disconcerting and worth checking out.

KRISTOFFER & THE HARBOUR HEADS/Ex Ex: Sensitive lads from Sweden that present the nutty side of college boys that are all too often on the receiving end of rejection. Not in the league of Leonard Cohen angst, this is more Belle & Sebastian not taking their meds sounds---that kind of angst.

IL VOLO with PLACIDO DOMINGO/Notte Magica: A pop classical release by two generations of performers that know how to crossover and know how to make it something not to be ashamed of, this release is running a little ahead of the PBS special based on it coming along for the holidays. Billed as a tribute to the Three Tenors, this set takes in august operatic works, pop, religious and more. It's all served up in grand high brow fashion that never panders but never excludes either. Loaded with elements that can please everyone from the classical tourist to the hard core listener, this probably has enough on the ball to please all but the moldiest of figs. Check it out when that grown up mood hits you and you need just the right sounds.

MARCEL KHALIFE/Andalusia of Love: Now that we've lost John Bilezijkian, the skirmish is on to see who is the new oud master. Khalife steps up. He brings his musically well educated sons along with him. Making things more accessible than the usual ethnic record, the distinct sounds of the homeland are in place but the melodies are often sprightly and engaging in ways you might not think of when you think middle east. Not being afraid of being modern while being respectful of tradition, this family is certainly showing why they should be thought of as the first family of middle eastern music. Certainly a set for adults only, this is mood music to take you places you've only heard in dreams. Check it out.

KENTUCKY HEADHUNTERS/On Safari: This bunch of hard rocking southern honky tonkers is back from their first ever Euro tour and they've got a new energy and attitude that sounds younger and darker than a bunch that's been at it for almost 50 years should be displaying. Music to cut loose to, even if you originally thought this was your father's music, this is a whomping, stomping can of whoop ass unleashed on an unsuspecting world. High octane stuff for people that are ready to put four to the floor.

LARRY CORYELL/Barefoot Man Sanpaku: His producer told him to step back to the 70s, Coryell complied and the results are a glorious throwback to simpler, funkier times. Playing with pals old and new, this is a set that stands up righteously next to his Vanguard sides. Tasty guitar work throughout.

DAVID AMBROSIO-RUSS MEISSNER/Moments in Time: Take a bunch of guys that are household names in hipper New York jazzbo homes, turn them lose to do what they do best and kick back hearing stars produce stellar results. Not music that's easy to pigeon hole, they take you to a lot of places and modes--often within the same song. Still able to be cutting edge with a million years experience between them, this is smart jazz for the forward thinking jazzbo not so interested in looking over his shoulder. One of those wild, ear opening rides well worth taking.

Volume 39/Number 353
October 21, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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