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FIREY STRING SISTAS!/That's What She Said...: The vibe here is taking me back to early Norman Conners and early Stan Clarke (he wasn't Stanley then). You are my starship with a violin leading the way? These ladies are mostly second generation jazzbos sired by hell raisers and boundary pushers so the civil rights jazz vibe is an apple that didn't fall far from the tree. And probably more than appropriate for the times we're living in. Certainly not for easy listening jazzbos, this isn't crazy stuff, it's just not easy listening either. Smart stuff for left leaners to check out.

AWAKENING ORCHESTRA/Atticus Live: Somewhere between Richard Thompson's "Dimming of the Day" and Eno, this set finds a comfortable resting spot. Not quite ambient, not quite jazz, not quite big band, this set based on the 2008 album by Jesse Lewis is probably well situated for the egghead that's passionate about listening to art as handed down by creatives that didn't seem motivated by money ala Gil Evans. A journey to another dimension, this set is an ear opener for those who like their sounds to come in from left field.

BRANDI DISTERHEFT/Blue Canvas: A modern gal that knows how to kick it old school, Disterheft continues to impress us as much as she did Oscar Peterson with her ability to swing a bass with the alacrity of Charles Mingus---probably without all the anger as well. Mixing up the song list with the old and her new, jazzbos looking for a straight up piano trio groove fest will find this to be just what the doctor ordered. On point throughout, she continues to keep us looking forward to her next release for more good vibes. Hot stuff.

LEANDRO CABRAL TRIO/Alfa: A modern Brazil piano trio issuing their second album, this crew has paid the proper dues along the way making this seem almost expected. Keeping off the usual Brazil/jazz tangents, this almost leans more toward ECM/Windham Hill than you might expect, but with the proper Brazilian seasonings, there's always something interesting in the wind here. Clearly a tasty taste treat, this is bouncy, fun jazz by a crew that doesn't feel like this is work. Good times ahead for you to get grooving to.

STEVE SLAGLE/Alto Manhattan: With some New York jazz stalwarts helping to blow up a storm on this double (triple?) entendred title, Slagle and pals take you back to golden 52nd Street days by way of upper Manhattan with a purely New York, time tested sound that blows your ears open and never gets to classic screeching along the way. Solid jazzbos showing why they put in the time, this zesty set is pure after hours goodness. Blowing hard because they want to, they play like they know you want it too. Well done.

RHONDA VINCENT/All the Rage In concert V. 1: As I've been saying for over 25 years, since before she made it into Giant's stable, who doesn't love Rhonda Vincent? Lighting sparks with more zest and energy than one person should have, and with more enthusiasm that someone at it for so long should display, Vincent and crew tear it up live here showing why so many for so long want to warm their hands by her fire. High octane throughout whether tipping the scales secular or gospel, this is what picking is all about. Easily crowned the queen of the back porch, this bluegrass belle has it all on the ball---once again. Having her kick it out live takes her show to a whole new dimension. Killer stuff.

FINDING DORY: Back into the briny for Disney with this heart warming animation that pretty much moves "Lion King" under water. What's it say about the current movie climate that adults have to take their kids to the flicks to get a pic that has all the stuff that made you go to the movies in the first place? It might be a cartoon, but it's loaded with the kind of ethos and pathos that the masters like Frank Capra loaded their pics with. While the story line might be thin and worn, the writing and the execution wipe all the doubts away as the trials and tribulations of a fish trying not to be out of water (so to speak) make you wipe away the tears you don't what your kids to see amid the laughs. A solidly great entertainment for kids of all ages, the disc is over stuffed with loads of extras, most of which you won't find gratuitous. Did I hear any one say ‘great Christmas gift'. Certainly, it's a high water mark for contemporary film. Well done throughout.

Volume 40/Number 16
November 16, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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