SEAN CHAMBERS/Trouble & Whiskey: A classic guitar slinging, rocked up white boy with the blues, Chambers knows his way around the night, a dandy beacon that can light it up until the wee hours. Serving up a hot platter for frat boys of all ages, everything here is rock solid and on point to roll you away. A certified rock party on a platter.
BILL HART/Touch of Blue: A left leaning guitarist, Hart has been influenced by the greats, whom he's often rubbed elbows with, and hopes to influence greats of the future via his courses in Atlanta. With a solid dollop of future funk smack dab in the middle of this fusion date, Hart leads the way for progressive ears and shows them how it's gonna be. Check it out if this is your cup of tea.
MILWAUKEE JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Welcome to Swingsville: When you're plying your trade off the beaten path, if it the path is only 90 miles away, you have to wear many hats, like the swinging classical playing educator does here. Leading a crew of Milwaukee jazzbos through a delightfully mixed big band program, they hit it right out of the box with a swinging, commercial energy that's inclusive and invites everyone into the tent---particularly if they want to hear some killer blowing, all home grown and away from the beaten path. High octane, high energy and a high old grand time. Well done.
DOUG MacDONALD/A Salute to Jazz Composers Jazz Marathon 2: This jazz marathon better keep being a regular event. MacDonald lines up a bunch of top LA players and pretty much has them playing all day in a bunch of configurations and the cats show they are playing for the love of it. And anyway, how can you pass a set that features Pete Christlieb prominently by? A set of mega blowing on tunes you know and love that cooks throughout. What else is needed to make this double discer a first call winner? A third disc of more? Killer stuff throughout for almost any contemporary jazzbo taste. Well done.
TAMIKREST/Kidal: The funny thing about this Malian set is that until the vocals come in on the opening riff, you could easily think this is some deep, Texas blues. It might be Taureg rock and roll but it has the feel of lonesome Texas white boy blues. Tribal stuff is tribal stuff, right? You probably won't know what they are singing about but they do it in such a way that this serves as a very left field trance record. A solid bet for when you're looking for something out of the ordinary that feels like Ry Cooder could have produced it.
MY EDUCATION: Now that Chicago Tribune has officially proclaimed the Velvet Underground's debut album a better album than the contemporaneously released "Sgt. Pepper", it's time for all those nu kids that picked up a Velvet's album and started a band to let their freak flags fly as well. Left leaning modern rock instrumental music, this is what contemporary day trippers need as a soundtrack--especially around finals.
NORDIC AFFECT/Raindamage: It ain't all death metal up there in Norway. There's new music abounding as well. This contemporary classical/ECM minimalism influenced crew pushes the margins way to the left striking their own chords along the way. It does help to have egghead tendencies to really get into this music, it's experimental stuff that'll give sitting down music fans quite a lot to look down their noses at you with. Crazy stuff throughout.
VIN MOTT/Quit the Women for the Blues: I guess the title track proves blues is a calling. Vin, you get into music to get the chicks, not give them up. He might be from Jersey but he's wise in the ways of the Chess grooves as he and his crew could have been hanging out with Butterfield waiting for their chance at open mic night many years ago. Fun stuff that comes to the blues without baggage and delivers a pile driver to the blues labonza that'll make the hard core spread the word. Fun stuff throughout that was designed to be a first class, after hours party platter.
ANDREW CALHOUN/Rhymer's Tower: Long before Jimmy Miller changed his name and married Pete Seeger's sister, and even before Robert Burns was asking the lassie if she would go, Calhoun's Scottish ancestors were tuning it up in ye olde days with these real folk songs so deep and steeped in the real tradition that even Pentangle would be amazed at the findings here. Armed with just his guitar, Calhoun days you back to the days of real dungeons and dragons when they were roaming through the gloaming and kings really did say things like ‘off with their heads'. Authentic enough to deserve a spot on "Midnight Special"'s top ten list, all I can say is take that Ed McCurdy. The Smithsonian is only paying lip service to the memory of Moe Asch if they don't pick this up to expand their Folkways holdings. A double extra mighty authentic folk record throughout.
PROFESSOR LOUIE & THE CROWMATIX/Crowin' the Blues: One of the pre-eminent roots band in the land gives the whole Americana genre the kick in the pants it frequently needs as they continue to rollick their way through the blues with these New Yorkers showing west siders and delta bog trotters how to party. Dropping almost all covers this time around, they take it well past perfunctory bar band moves that have turned some of these tunes into clichés, they blow off the dust and neglect to really set the joint a jumping. Killer stuff from a killer crew that certainly knows a thing or two about Americana and where it came from.
Volume 40/Number 115
February 24, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record
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