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THE JIMMYS/Live from Transylvania: The head Jimmy doesn't give us a fun pic of his wife on the cover of this set but he dedicates it to Candye Kane and let's his B3 do his smoking for him. Kind of a live greatest hits set, really recorded at a blues fest in Transylvania, if this award winner playing at this venue doesn't show there's a dazzling musical underground that's alive and well, nothing will. A first class blues party crew, they seem invigorated by the spirit of Dracula lurking about and really put the pedal to the mettle. The gypsies never had it so good as when this crew really gets to smoking. A great rollicking time that just doesn't quit. Well done.

TRUDY LYNN/I'll Sing the Blues for You: An Ichiban alum that learned what to do and what not to do over in Hotlanta, Texas' queen of the blues tears it up on her third set for this label that is sure to find it growing her legend in blues circles farther and faster. Already at the top of her game, with the freedom to do it her own way, this might be a smoking set of traditional urban blues but it's smokingly in the moment as well because her vibe is timeless. This is simply a set of mighty blues vocals what am! Killer stuff.

MISSISSIPPI HEAT/Cab Driving Man: Has the world gone topsy? A Belgian blues harp player finds his way to Bob Koester's door step and the indefatigueible 84 year old personally produces this forward thinking set that shows the way toward what modern rollicking blues parties sound like. A tasty, high octane affair that merrily blows the roof off the sucker, everyone in this multi-culti aggregation gets some and gets a chance to show what they do to make this set shine. A first class party on a platter, this is one of the examples of why indie music will never die. Killer stuff throughout.

AMIT FRIEDMAN/Long Way to Go: A strikingly original set by a sax jazzbo that's certainly going places, he never lets things roll off the rails in search of originality but he never gives you samey samey either. Thinking man's jazz that doesn't cross the line into eggheadsville, this is sitting down jazz you can really sink your teeth into. Tasty stuff throughout a crew that has their sights firmly centered on tomorrow, this is sure to grab your ears and hold on tight. Well done.

TERRELL STAFFORD/Forgive & Forget: We certainly have to wish well traveled sax man/label topper Herb Harris the best as being a label chief is no easy row to hoe these days. It does get a touch easier when you have the sense to sign a cat like Stafford and give him creative freedom that he's got the chops to know how to use and not abuse. A modern cat that knows how to swing, Stafford and pals are on point throughout delivering a sonic sensation that gives mainstream jazz another high water mark. A tasty set that shouldn't be missed, do yourself a favor and check this out before it lights up radio so you can say you were there first. Absolutely well done.

YELENA ECKEMOFF/Blooming Tall Phlox: Eckemoff didn't exactly grow up in public but by the time we got a chance to wrap our ears around her, she was well into writing her second act giving us the chance to see her change course several times until winding up here, for now. Moving from her classical base to instrumental to new age, she has now firmly landed in art/jazz territory and she does it without the cutesy pedantness that tends to slog it down. A double disc of egghead jazz for a Sunday afternoon, the memories of her Russian childhood played with Finnish upstarts that also want to escape the cold is a delightful, impressionistic journey through places we'll probably never get to see. A little wistful, a little nostalgic, her memories are still clear enough to give us a vivid landscape. Smart stuff for smart listeners.

MARCELLO PELLITTERI/Aquarius Woman: Using the healing power of music to help get over the death of his daughter, you can tell immediately that this is music directly from the heart. A solid New York jazzbo drummer whose talent and wanderlust have taken him around the world, he's joined here by equally capable players that want to ease his path---and make some killer contemporary jazz at the same time. Whether you share his sorrow or not, you will enjoy this set that has an almost after hours feeling but will let you get to bed at a respectable time. Solid stuff from a cat that wouldn't deliver less.

NU HAVEN KAPELYE/What's Nu?: Since this multi culti klezmer big band welcomes all who can add to the sound, why didn't they think of bringing in a shiksa ringer like Saskia Laroo to blow up a little trumpet? An ethnic record even a shagitz can enjoy as this crew likes to roll things out on Christmas, they take ethnic Jewish music/jazz and remove the corny elements that usually make it best played for old people. That's a funny juxtaposition since playing for old people is a lot of what they do in the real world. Easily fitting comfortably into a world beat slot rather than an ethnic slot, this is purely music to kick up your heels to. Taking the music seriously without taking the trappings seriously, this is solidly fun stuff for when you want something foreign but not too alien. Well done.

TYLER REESE/Moving On: The new breed of Nashville cat, this 23 year old learned guitar for Pat Metheny, played for Prince and already has an Outlook list of connections any wannabe would kill for. All that and the tyro wanted to get back to his roots in jazz fusion. We're certainly glad his day job afforded him the opportunity to indulge. I don't think he was even alive yet before consultants turned fusion to sludge and killed the format and the sound so maybe we should be glad that he's an old soul that knows which end is up. A super solid taste treat for anyone that needs a well guided trip back to the day, fusion ears are sure to enjoy the chops and diversity that power this set. Hot stuff.

RORY BLOCK/Keepin' Outta Trouble: Aurora shines brightly on the sixth in the series of her tributes to the blues masters. This is her most personal set in the series as evidenced by her writing over half the songs rather than covering more of Bukka (pronounced Booka) White's material. One of the most influential of the original country blues cats and a relative of B. B. King's, White has gone through several rediscoveries over the years, but since he's been gone for 40 years now, it's great to have Block tip her cap in the right direction. With her appreciation flying out of the bytes, you can't help but feel the spirit as well and get down with one of the masters that needn't be forgotten. She's at the top of her game here. Killer stuff.

MONKEYJUNK/Time to Roll: It's one of those subtle things, but there's been no electric bass playing on any of Monkeyjunk's award winning dates until this one. The industrial, post war blues rock is amped up accordingly. With a fuller sonic assault on board, this is how it rolls for the nu generation that needs some stomp in their sound. Hard hitting stuff that is sure to keep them at the top of the heap, this set is the perfect accompaniment for red, plastic cups full of suds. Hot stuff.

RAY CHARLES ORCHESTRA/Zurich 1961: If you haven't ripped your copy of "Genius Loves Company" and dumped it at the used record store, you might want to check this out to prove you're a real fan. Recorded live in Switzerland just before he exploded with his new found freedom shifting gears from Atlantic to ABC, this concert finds him and his prime crew at the burgeoning peak of his prime years where the legend went beyond forging to burnishing. Crawford, Newman, Belgrave and the rest playing like they wanted to make sure the leader wouldn't fine them, this evening not only has smoke but fire as well. Genius + Soul indeed. A wonderful bunch of tape to have escape from the vaults, this is the real deal. Plain and simple. Killer stuff throughout.

Volume 40/Number 4
November 4, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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