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ROTEM SIVAN TRIO/Antidote: Even international guitar masters get to experience heartbreak every so often like the rest of us. A suite written in reaction to his long time girl friend dumping him, this isn't a satchel of bleeding heart, down tempo grooves, it often sounds more like a celebration. Right in the classic George Benson kind of pocket, straight up jazz guitar fans handily have a new taste treat to savor here. Well done.

BRENT LAIDLER/No Matter Where Noir: Basically writing a score of a pic that existed in his head, the soundtrack composer/jazz guitarist knows his way around a tune, a studio and how to score---so it does it all here with some Indiana jazz pals. Sort of a modern daddio jazz project, this is fun stuff that propels forward so you always think things are moving instead of static. The kind of cat that knows how to give everyone some, this is snappy stuff that never exactly goes where you think it will, and that's certainly half the fun. Wily stuff, this is a trip well worth taking.

KEITH O'ROURKE/Sketches from the Road: Inspired by the sax man's world travels, even if you don't know how to handle someone else's impressionistic music, you will enjoy this sax man's long over due debut where he seems to find populist, smooth jazz in every nook and cranny he looks at. Upbeat, playful and joyous, this is music made to chase away the bad times and give your psyche the breather it needs and deserves. Solid, easy going jazz that has arrived at just the right time. Well done.

MARK CAMERON BAND/Live at Blues on the Chippewa: A blues challenge winner, this record was a serendipitous, spontaneous affair that happened because his sound man noticed some killer sound equipment laying around when they were waiting to go on for their set. Knobs twisted and here we go. Certainly brimming with only take intensity, this long standing white boy with the blues plays like he has 30 years under his belt without sounding like he's got 30 years under his belt. Perfectly capturing his live sound, this is the next best thing to being there. Totally hot stuff.

MILES DAVIS QUINTET/Complete 1960 Holland Concerts: Recorded on tour on the heels of "Kind of Blue", Adderley might not be blowing sax here but you do get Coltrane playing even though he doesn't want to be there and Sonny Stitt replacing him when he splits. Talk about loads of mad blowing! Previously unreleased, there's some dandy surprises lurking in these bytes. Aside from Stitt sitting in, you get other JATP goodies like the trio taking a few cuts on their own and Stan Getz showing up in a related/unrelated date where he sits in with the crew. Then there's Coltrane playing Miles' tunes with Miles' crew while Miles was off somewhere else. Look, it's three cds of daddio jazz heaven and it's a total gasser. It might not have been intended to be a record but we're glad it was finally turned into one. Hot stuff no matter who's playing.

JC HOPKINS BIGGISH BAND/Meet Me at Minton's: Here's a glorious record that you won't know what to do with other than sit back and enjoy it. Personifying the sound of celebration, Hopkins rounds up a multi generational crew of jazzbos and puts them through their paces on classic tunes and new compositions that sound classic. Killer stuff throughout, this is a wild show band strutting their stuff in the highest order. You don't have to be a big band fan to love it, just someone with great taste. Now you'll know what a swinging night out sounded like back in the day---even if this is very much in today.

TAL COHEN/Gentle Giants: A jazz piano cat that's busy coming out of nowhere on the run, Cohen, who credits his background in Jewish folk songs and classical as what differentiates him, finds himself scooping up awards right out of the box and impressing his elders who have seen it all. Not a left field date but a date that's not afraid to push the margins to their max, his outsider status won't be hung on him much longer. Tasty, creative work throughout, it's time you find out what all the hub bub is about, bub. Solid stuff.

ALEX LOPEZ/Slowdown: 12 step blues rock for those who are having trouble keeping the devil down in the hole. Adult shoe gaze? Well, this is the place to cock your ear if you want to rock up the usual 12 step meeting.

JOCELYN MEDINA/Common Ground: We have to accord this jazz/world vocalist the order of the art chick as she interrupted the making of this album for a chance to teach in India. Knowing how to enlist pals with real jazz and world chops and not presenting herself as a schmata queen, we urge you not to write her off as a mere art chick with pretentiousness in tow. You can hear and feel the influence of India making this right up there with the India inspired jazz classics of decades back, just with organic food powering it. Well intentioned, high octane girl friend music, this is for her to play in the car on the way to yoga. Check it out.

TIM BENNETT/View From Here: In which we find Americana hooking up with honky tonk and country rock leavened with today's reality for a wild ride that is the sound of middle America partying it up in the Walmart parking lot (possibly before the trailers get repossessed). Letting the good times roll in the best of take this job and shove it traditions, this set shows how you can be young if you are young at heart (and have a back to go with it). Fun stuff that works throughout.

JOHN ELDERKIN & MOONBEAMS NO MAS!/The Fall & Rise of: "High Fidelity" meets Ziggy Stardust in a rock opera at a dive bar and a used record store? Nostalgia is taking on new shapes in nu times. Theatrically presented by the backbone of who's who in Carolina rock, this set certainly proves you can be lo fi without being sloppy and stoopid. An engaging creation throughout, this is an under the radar wild ride that'll blow the mind of anyone that really sits down and listens to it. Rock hasn't seen this much focused but unbridled creativity in a long time. Hot stuff.

KENNY SHANKER/Witching Hour: All the hip insider cats know who this sax man is and it's time you found out as well. Playing a mixture of straight ahead bop, he knows how to blow up a storm and really give your ears a work out with his zeal. A hard hitting cat that knows how to layout and lay back as well, he gives out that tasty kind of stuff that keeps you coming back for more. Well done.

Volume 40/Number 205
May 25, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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