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SCOTT RAMMINGER/Do What Your Heart Says To: The kind of unheralded gem that rises to the top of satellite radio play lists with ease, this set takes it deep down to Nawlins and makes it's statement that the sun isn't coming up any time too soon. With a guest list that would make John Charles Daly says ‘let's just throw over all the cards', this funkified good time is on point throughout. A fun date that colors freely outside the lines with abandon, this proves once again there's a lively music business taking place outside the dictates of the record business. Check it out.

NATE NAJAR/This Is: Some guitarists just have the touch that takes them and their music to unexpected places and Najar is one of them. A player that's really at one with his ax, he plays jazz with a classical right hand, a subtlety sure to be lost on most casual listeners, and does things that just set him apart. Freshening up old songs well worth getting a new airing from his deft touch, this is killer snapshot at a rising master on his assent to the throne. Fleshed out with experienced jazzbos that know the drill but keep it fresh, this is aces high listening for the mature listener that won't even venture into McDonalds for a promotionally priced latte, y'dig? In the pocket and straight from the heart.

CARY MORIN/Cradle to the Grave: Here's a cat you won't know what to do with other than sit back and enjoy. A Native American finger picking guitarist originally from Montana, he seems to have a lot more in common with Mississippi John Hurt than Redbone. Having proven himself as being able to fill up a stage whether he's by himself or with a cast of thousands, he's earned his spot as Colorado's national treasure of the blues. Except for some flirting with tunes by Prince and Phish, he's doing all his own thing here with his voice and guitar showing how easily he can fill a room with just that. Tasty stuff for the adult listener really on the lookout for the real deal.

DAWN TYLER WATSON/Jawbreaker: Montreal's queen of the blues reaches down and finds her inner Bonnie Raitt--in a very good way. After two stellar duo albums, she sees that she needs to fill out her sound with more than a putatative Freebo and corrals a crew of players that really want to make her shine. With some grabber chords in the opening spins that sink the burrs, she takes it to church in a Bonnie kind of way but via lineage, not homage. The kind of sassy, brassy gal we've been waiting too long for, Watson is a force of nature that will not be denied. Hot stuff.

PETER ERSKINE & THE DR. UM BAND/Second Opinion: It's no surprise that Erskine is up for a Grammy for the set that gave rise to this and it's no surprise that the drummer that knows how to give everyone some should follow up the original with something else even more original. Putting his jazzbo pals in the pocket, the slinky, after hours funk that kicks this off is only a hint at what is to come.----like another Grammy ride next year. Killer stuff for those whose ears are still in tune and attuned to finding the right stuff. Well done throughout.

PETER ERSKINE NEW TRIO/In Praise of Shadows: Oh boy, when the hippest cat in the room isn't too hip for the room...! Kicking this set off with a taste of "Sukiyaki" that will have you going ‘oh no he dint", Erskine's eastern inspired jazz trio shows this diamond has yet another facet waiting for you. The second outing for this crew shows them playing like a well tempered outfit that's been uncovering mysteries of the ages for ages. Tasty stuff that shows just how far a jazz drum trio can stray from cocktail music not missing a beat. Smoking hot throughout.

SYNTHESIZE THE SOUL-Astro Atlantic Hypnotica from the Cape Verde Islands 1973-1988/various: A well curated set of sounds you nothing about from a time you know nothing about, but when the Cape Verde exile was in full force and so heavily attended that it couldn't help but to influence the places the many refugees landed. Smoking stuff that's existed in it's own time zone for so long that it doesn't seem dated now that it's escaping to the west. From oppression comes party that this is stuff gringos can relate to in any language. The beat is irresistible. Well done.

NICK FINZER/Hear & Now: I guess we all hear what we want. Bone ace Finzer says this is a discordant album inspired by the crazy times going on right now. I hear killer, angular, post bop daddio jazz riding right at the edge of break neck paced fusion that has the spirit to answer the question: what would happen if Brian Auger and John McLaughlin jammed? However you want to slice it, it's killer stuff throughout that opens the ear and raises the hair on the back of your neck. Well done.

KEN FOWSER/Now Here This: The sax man that's come a long way in a short time turns up the daddio here in a post bop raver that hits all the jazzbo high spots you could hope for. Tasty, hard hitting stuff from all hands on deck, this healthy dose of originals is dealt out in fine style. Lower the lights, exhale the smoke and keep the drinks flowing. This is a taste of real jazz. Hot stuff.

DELIA DERBYSHIRE APPRECIATION SOCIETY: Tossing it back to the day when this kind of electronic music was experimental, these two jazzbos that make up this crew are long in the experimental chops department whether gained under the aegis of Art of Noise of Carla Bley. Friends for 30 years, they almost provide the missing link between Beaver & Krause and now. If you've got that jones for Eno and Doctor Who themes, this is the next place to get on so you can get off.

Volume 40/Number 80
January 20, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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