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ANDREW HARTMAN/Compass: Funded by Kickstarter, midwifed by some top jazzbos, this contemporary, laid back date shows the young up and coming a product of the times in that he has to take his time between releases but the time is well spent. To the right of ECM and ambient jazz, this tasty set has the guitarist blazing his own trail without debt to masters of the past rearing it's head. A skillful player that knows how to connect, Hartman impresses mightily here as a writer/leader/performer. Well done.

BIG MEAN SOUND MACHINE/Runnin' for the Ghost: When you're trying to create nu instrumental party music and you have the baggage of the entire recorded history of music following you, that gives you a wild palette to pick and choose from as you use the past to chart the future. All at once familiar and new, this crew gets the joint jumping with something that feels like funk, or feels like afrobeat or feels like__________ (fill in the blank), while turning your head to the different direction that's coming around the next bend. A super fine way to get the party started even if the set list has to change as the sun goes down.

BOOGIE PATROL/Man on Fire: Devotees of blue eyed, rocked up soul, this crew fires straight shots over the bough powered by blue eyed soul from the 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond. With a message that says bring on the funk and let's party, party on they do. Hot stuff that hit's the mark by revivalists that aren't just manqué-ing around.

MAX BOURATOGLOU/Idle Intuition: Teen tyro leaves the ep world behind for his first full-length set helped out by Ken Stringfellow, his mom's college pal. Addressing topics on tap for today's teens, he knows of what he speaks as it's swirling around him on a daily basis. If the dicta is right that people like hearing from people like them, this is the inversion of rap for the modern suburban teen. Check it out.

MARTIN HARLEY & DANIEL KIMBRO/Static in the Wires: This is one of those rare, off the radar releases where the music speaks for itself but neglects to tell you what it is. Basically a roots/Americana set, that descriptor doesn't really tell you what these two are doing here. Sounding kind of like a pair of white boys with delta/Piedmont blues, there's some kind of magic they're putting into the bytes that makes it so much more. Killer players with a certain case of the shining, any organic music fan will just plain drop their jaws after marveling at what's going on here. It's utterly amazing how something so simple can be so complex. A winner throughout.

HARPOONIST & THE AXE MURDERER/Apocalipstick: And the pomo times, they are a changing. A pair of white boys with the British invasion blues, this duo recognizes the changes of the times and have become staples of TV soundtracks rather than aiming for the charts. It's a different vibe and outcome, but in the end, it affords them the creative freedom to control their sound and destiny. Building on what's come before, they attack bloated instructions the way punks did before them serving up a nu pop for nu times. A wild, contemporary rocking set, these guys know how to chart a nu course with precision. Well done.

NEOTOLIA/Neotolian Song: World beat from a region where Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean all crash into each other, this world beat set is based on the old stuff but it's brought into the present. Haunting and nearly other worldly at times, it draws from all parts of the region and stirs it into a heady mash up. Miles away from being a gift shop record, the closest it comes to that is sounding like the background music at an authentic, ethnic restaurant. Clearly an ear opening listening experience, it moves linearly to it's own drummer never making the path to hard for outsiders to follow. Well done throughout and a dandy new tangent.

JESSE WALDMAN/Mansion Full of Ghosts: If you aren't familiar with the East Vancouver music scene or a dedicated reader of small print you might wonder how this atmospheric folkie arrived so fully formed. Well, he's been at it for years working on both sides of the glass learning and refining as he went. Like a non sardonic Loudon Wainwright, a non depressed Townes Van Zandt or a non adorned Jesse Winchester, Waldman is right in those pockets offering you the best and discarding the rest. A non mush mouthed singer/songwriter, Waldman has just the right amount of easiness to ward off these troubled times. Hot stuff.

BATTLE OF SANTIAGO/La Migra: They might be a band of Canadians and Cubans in the 10s but they write like old hippies---the whole band gets together and jams until something finished rears it's head. Adopting a political stance before the current administration got around to shaking it's sword, these ‘outsiders' are certainly gong to feel the brunt of such sword shaking and are making a stand now. Of course they are doing it with Latin jazz/rock vibes and words gringo don't understand, but that doesn't disqualify this as a high octane, high energy set that envelops you with it's passion. A well done ear opener.

GLENN MAKOS QUARTET/Michel Legrand Project: Outside of some well stocked, under packaged recent box sets, Legrand hasn't been getting the love he should and Makos and his pals stand to correct that. Taking some prime bits of the Legrand canon to some new places, Makos uses his big band chops to take this combo to a big sound and feel. A welcome pairing, Makos ought to get some of the nu retro divas putting their thinking caps on and giving Cole Porter a rest for a while. Well done.

Volume 40/Number 158
April 8, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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