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SANDY CRESSMAN/Entre Amigos: Natalie Cressman's mom steps back into the studio after a decade away and shows her love of all things Brazilian hasn't dimmed a whit in the interim. Recorded both in the Bay area and Brazil, this is as authentic a Brazilian jazz album as you are going to get from a gringo. Going deeper than samba for tourists, the vocalist leans on her pals to make it indigenous and they come through. A tasty set that gives vocalist and instrumentalists equal chances to shine, this is real Brazilian jazz that comes from Above Horizonte just fine. Well done throughout.

JIMMY SCOTT/I Go Back Home: Before he died, some Germans decided they were going to give Scott the love and budget he deserved for so long. This album with stellar duets and backings is no mish mash that was cobbled together after Scott died. In fact, there are final performances by some legends that were recruited to play with him as well, with everyone performing as if their life depended on it. Very much an up market kind of release that casual listeners might not get, if you've been a fan of the kind of jazz released on IPO Records, this gem is sure to be in your wheelhouse. A wild album that's sure not to be made much again in the future by an artist we'll certainly not see one of again, this is raw, right to the bone jazz vocal where each note is packed to the brim with meaning. Killer stuff that real jazz vocal fans will be enamored with.

JIM KOEPPEL/RSVP to Paradise: A guitar slinging white boy with the blues, Koeppel cut his teeth opening for high water mark Americana acts before the genre even had a name. Authentic stuff that sounds like it was written and played with a jelly jar full of hooch nearby, this ep really needs to be longer to keep these good times rolling. Music from the heart that works without having to make any marketing considerations to water it down. The chop laden, well known players in the gang backing him up sees to that as well. Fun stuff throughout.

LUCAS HANEMAN EXPRESS/Tearing Up the Rails: Roots and blues/rock from Canada that shows this party band ready, willing and able to keep the juke joint jumping all night long. Bringing more funk than a bunch of youngsters from Canada should bring to the fore, this bunch doesn't need snow shoes to find their footing in their chosen field. High octane stuff that won't let you down.

GAETANO LETICIA & THE UNDERWORLD BLUES BAND/Resurrection: With 40 years under his belt, when this guitarist talks about missing the old days of creative freedom, you might want to listen to what he has to say. Having had a front row seat at the creative explosion years, he's not content to just re-tread things once more and pushes the envelope to let his blues rocking guitar extend it's reach to fullest. With all his various guitar heroes riding on his shoulder with him, without going back to the day, this album is loaded with the spirit of how cool it all was when the inmates were running the asylum and the zookeepers had no idea what was going on but enjoyed counting the money their charges brought in. A certainly tasty set for musos of a certain age that are still looking for some meat in their mix. Check it out.

SATOKO FUJII ORCHESTRA TOKYO/Peace: A tribute to her late guitarist, Fujii finally takes it to farther out limits than Carla Bley ever imagined at her most JCOAist. Self defined as a highly personal album, the jacket is almost an origami fold and that should be a clue as to the complexities that follow. Jazz meets Lou Reed at his most amped up? Only Fujii knows in this wild outing.

JON GINDICK/When We Die, We All Come Back as Music: One of the pre-eminent blues harp educators steps away from the podium to take center stage with this busman's holiday of a set where he let's his sly humor merge with his serious side for a host of self penned tunes that give us a peek at what he's been storing up while selling those millions of books and steering those multitudes of lessons. Proceeding certainly with no dust on him, he sounds like a dyed in the wool road warrior that's burned the midnight oil in roadhouses for far too long. This is a white boy with the blues that really knows his stuff. Well done.

VINNIE SPERRAZZA/Juxtaposition: A progressive jazz drummer that doesn't need to tour the cosmos or show how fast and angular he can make it, he simply takes chops and uses them to color outside the lines in a most undistressing way. Mixing his modes gleefully, you're never sure where this journey is going to take you and that's half the fun. With equally well chopped fellow travelers along to create the mosaic, this isn't so much for the malcontent as it is those that just want something that takes them somewhere different. Try it on for size, the fit will probably be just right.

IAN HUNTER/Sampling in Reality: While most of all the young dudes are dead these days, old man Hunter keeps rolling along as this smidge of a taste from the upcoming limited edition 30 disc retrospective attests. The PRO money from Drew Carey repeats will keep him off the dole in his old age and having the energy to put this set together is the proof of that. And if you think this little sampler is jive, it has two tracks not on the box set. How's that, uber fans?

PETER KARP/Alabama Town: On his own once again, except for guys like Mick Taylor and Garth Hudson hanging out, Karp takes us on a tour of his back pages roots/Americana style. One of these guys you have to check out so you can ask where he's been all your listening life, Karp continues to roll out emotional, living stories that connect through his voice and his playing. A well rounded entertainer that comes across as organic rather than contrived, this is the kind of guy that you'd see in a club midweek and pay the sitter extra because you stayed to the end.
Simply smoking stuff that works righteously throughout.

Volume 40/Number 53
December 23, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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