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HAMPTON HAWES/Complete Albums Collection 1955-61: This piano man died young and was a template for the 50's daddio jazzbos with a drug problem that got sidetracked by a jail term. An early running mate of Charlie Parker, before things rolled off the rails, Hawes made three certified classics in one session that are all on board here. Enough of a forerunner that he influenced Previn, Peterson and many other highlighters of the day, this is the next thing you want to listen to after you've made it through the two heavy duty Art Tatum boxes and still want more. A solid collection that makes it clear he really liked piano more than drugs, the next time some geezer tells you about what a killer player Hawes was, you won't be inclined to brush him off. Wondrous jazz piano work throughout these eight sets without a false note in the bunch.

MICHAEL DEASE/All These Hands: Gathering a hand picked bunch of all stars to make the trek with him as he brings his sound and vision to fruition, Dease and his bunch make a history of jazz recording that has no dust on it and sounds much more looking forward than looking backward. A dazzling set that's striking in it's ability to say something new here, this is more than a pleasingly swinging set that cooks. A solid work throughout, this is thoughtful jazz that doesn't hesitate to cut to the chase and make it's point. Exactly what the doctor ordered for that afternoon when you want to be alone with some jazz and let it roll. Killer stuff.

THE GOLDEN ERA OF LIVING STEREO/various: The first two volumes in this series had 30 discs each, this is a bounty of 60 with 48 of the recordings never on cd before. Is this the left overs? Perish the thought. Living Stereo was General Sarnoff's personal baby, and when the boss with the check book wants to strive for immortality in his cherished domain, no expense was spared and nothing was ever second rate. With a wealth of the greatest artists of the times on board, this collection of recordings that easily reach back 60 years never comes across as dated largely because most of the music was already 200 years old and the recording techniques were specifically invented to take the sound to tomorrow---especially since this was recorded during the space age. Righteously billed as a celebration of high fidelity analogue recording, this is a shining example of the greatness internet pundits must be thinking about when they say there is so much stuff these days that we only have time for greatness. Easily a years worth of high end entertainment in one package. Proven can't miss stuff throughout.

JAYE P. MORGAN/That Country Sound and more: It's been 40 years since Morgan was known for being that nutty, mouthy broad on "The Gong Show". I'm not sure how many people remember that anymore, let alone the sides she was cutting over 60 years ago that your grandpa and grandma were courting and sparking to, like "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries" and others. This set was cut back when the label had ideas on what kind of set you were going to cut when, it didn't really matter that she was singing with her family band from the time she could talk and preferred jazz----the label had her cutting country on it's schedule. No matter here as this set is stuffed to the bytes gills with other cuts that are lingering in history. A certified star in the early days of lps, this set might have it's dated elements but it's no cheesy walk down memory lane. Any fan of sassy old broads is well advised to check this out for some undiscovered and forgotten delights.

SUPER HI FI/Plays Nirvana: The nifty New York pomo crew celebrates the 25th anniversary of "Nevermind" by refashioning the original oeuvre of the band they opened for 25 years ago. Turning it into a trip through various lounges, this set has none of the bite of the initial grunge wave and makes this a palatable journey for the uninitiated and the trepidatious. Quite the wild ride for newbies and vets alike.

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS: Some pics were really made to hit their glory on the home theater (small?) screen and this pic is one of them. A true love story about a dowager that thinks she can sing and the dotting husband that wants to make her dreams a reality, the pic is powered by the right combination of TV sized talents driven by Meryl Streep's outsized performance where she let's loose with an abandon she's never shown in any of her previous comedies. With expert hands guiding things at all points, this is a perfect example of a touching, adult serio-comedy that you don't have to ordinarily be a character driven pic fan to enjoy. One of the better laugh riots you're going to enjoy despite the pathos and bathos that keep it real. Well done throughout.

SHANNARA CHRONICLES Season 1: With a bunch of hands on board here that know how to appeal to kids of all ages, this fantasy series based on a 26 volume best selling series is just plain running the table when it come s to making a great looking, intriguing fantasy series that takes the far off places to the next level of the game. With Jon Favreau keeping a watchful eye on things, he knows exactly what anyone who's ever D&D-ed or Magiced wants and how to give it to them. A classy keepsake for genre fans.

Volume 40/Number 31
December 1, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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