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NEVILLE STAPLE/Return of Judge Roughneck: Some people just have the extra thing. One of the original rude boys harkens back to the vibe of his classic Two Tone days but delivers a message ripped form tomorrow's headlines. A bad ass skanking romp, this is how it was back in the days when MCs like U-Roy, Judge Dredd and others held sway in delirious and often hilarious fashion. A great walk back whether you were there or not because Staple is here now to bridge all gaps. Check it out.

LAUREN MITCHELL/Desire: A red hot, white blues mamma whose life fell apart in
Florida headed out to Tony Braunagel's studio where she found he called out his A team and told them to bring their A game to her session. A full blooded, full bodied sound of the south, her breakfasts must have had Bonnie Bramlett records ground up and put in her cereal when she was growing up. A wonderful badass date that leaves no doubt she's the real deal. Hot & heavy duty, she's right on the money throughout making it rain with white girl soul.

ADAM RUDOLPH'S MOVING PICTURES/Glare of the Tiger: What do you do if you were too young to play with Miles when he was courting Betty Mabry and you really wish you could have? You head out to Bill Laswell's studio, bring all your percussion and invite your like minded pals. After firing a few doobs to the expanded edition of "Bitches Brew", you're ready to give it your all. And this bunch does. A load of elephant funk space jazz is on tap here and all they need is songs with titles like "John McLaughlin" to tie it all together. Wonderful stuff for ears that can't get enough of that spacy stuff.

MARILYN SCOTT/Standard Blue: The thing that's kept Scott's warbling fresh across decades is that the jazz thrush never wanted to sound like anyone else. And this has let to her pairing up with some greats along the way. Many of her high flying friends/fans are on board here in a set that would have you thinking this is a smooth jazz outing on paper but is nowhere near that in reality. Mostly dipping into the classic song book and hitting notes not hit that often anymore, jazz vocal fans will find this date that doesn't hue to the tried and true a killer side trip that easily become the main journey. Well done with a great subtlety, this is what jazz vocal fans have been looking for. Well done.

LAURA VECCHIONE/Love Lead: A new take on the 70's coming of age/divorcee pop of Carol Sager, Dory Previn, et al, this is sound of coming in to your own as an adult in the aughts. A skilled songwriter that knows her own work better than anybody else, the wood shedding that made this set come a decade after her last, it shows there's nothing wrong with having maturity and owning it. From Nashville it came without being country, here's the proof that music from the heart has moved to the heartland.
Well done.

LOUIS ROMANOS QUARTET/Serenity: A tasty set of left leaning straight ahead jazz, this crew comes back hotter every time out. Appealing to the sitting down, cerebral jazz fan, you don't have to be an egghead to dig this. A fine work out with everyone playing as one and on the same page, it's a gasser throughout that keeps the jazz fires burning bright. Well done.

YOONIE HAN/Granados Goyescas: A classical recital inspired from another time and place, Han solo piano tackles a suite inspired by Goya paintings from when Spain was a world power. A sensitive but strong reading, Han does amazing things with a few fingers and bunch of keys delivering a set that needs no embellishment she can't provide on her own. Solo classical piano sounding as good as it gets, this is the kind of set that can bring jaded ears into the classical tent for more than a look see. Killer stuff.

TOM KENNEDY/Points of View: A stone cold bass ace calls up a guest list of players that wrote the smooth jazz book and a good time is had by all. Not afraid to unleash his inner Paul
Winter in some of these tunes, it's a great date where everything comes together so well that you really don't want to pigeon hole it down to a marketing handle. Killer stuff contemporary jazz fans will wonder how the record business can keep this under the radar. Well done throughout.

HOT 8 BRASS BAND/On the Spot: When second line funk meets everything you can think of in the Caribbean and most of the things you can think of in New York neighborhoods away from Trump Tower, you get the heady brew of party music on tap here. Infectious and unstoppable, this is a killer party on a platter that defies age and taste barriers. Killer stuff that'll get everything other than corpses moving, this is music sure to put a smile on your face. Killer stuff throughout.

GERRY GIBBS & THRASHER PEOPLE/Weather or Not: Gibbs has long convinced us he's one of the driving wheel/spark plugs of contemporary jazz and here he feels the need to drive the point home on a twofer that is packed to the gills with plenty of stuff to blow your mind.. The disc opens with his new band doing a trio take on Weather Report. The other disc is back to his originals that he's been keeping in hiding for years. The drummer that knows how to give everyone else some takes it to the next level of the game on this tour de force that'll simply blow your ears wide open. Not a false note in the bunch, this is a high water mark for contemporary jazz. Hot stuff.

GREG ABATE with Tim Ray Trio/Road to Forever: The fusing of some local lights in the label's home turf sets some sparks to really get to flying. The sax man hooks up with the piano trio, both entities all stars in their own rights, and the whole is something else indeed. With years under his belt but no dust on him, Abate can bop and can look forward with equal ease. A smoking contemporary jazz date, these cats lift each other's game and are certain to life your spirits as it plays on it's merry way. Well done throughout.

Volume 40/Number 108
February 17, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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