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TARDO HAMMER TRIO/Swinging on a Star: A sideman's sideman, the piano whiz gets to take one of his highly infrequent star turns and serves up a piano trio set that's well out of the ordinary. Hallmarked by primo jazzbo playing, Hammer grabs your ear and holds on tight through the proceedings. With his pals seeming to support him by instinct, this is how it was in the good old days when players showed up to play and did it right. Tasty throughout, he doesn't need any originals to prove his point as he knows how to refashion seemingly anything into something that feels new and fresh. Dynamite stuff that's sure to leave jazz piano fans babbling.

STEW CUTLER/Every Sunday Night: A guitarist that isn't afraid to color outside the lines, Cutler is a cat that has been around the block a few times learning what works and what doesn't--particularly when he's getting you in the frame of mind to expect the unexpected. Not an artsy release, it's along the lines of what you might expect from Ry Cooder when he's in an exploring mood, august personages have had Cutler stroke the stings on their behalf so this isn't for Sunday afternoon arts council music fans. The boundaries are pushed to the proper limits and those looking for new sounds will find them here. Not exactly what you'd think of when you think jazz/rock, it's a trip to places you've only hear in dreams. Well done.

DOUBLE TIGER/Sharp & Ready: Sound system reggae from Brooklyn by a cat that's been dropping science for others over the last few years, now doing it for himself. A high octane set that keeps the party flame burning at high heat. Solid stuff throughout from a pro that knows how to get it done, this is a solid sound of the street set that's tailor made for enjoying right now. Hot stuff.

JEFFREY HALFORD & the Healers/Lo-Fi Dreams: A native Texan, he's shared stages with the Mt. Rushmore of Texas troubadours and sounds like he fit right in with them. A loping singer/songwriter set recorded with vintage equipment to give it the warm, fuzzy sound of ye olde dayes, back porch music has to work hard to get up to the place where this one starts. Way cool throughout, warm summer and cold beer are all this set needs to be enjoyed at full bore. Well done.

TUCCI/Olivia: Plain and simple---a four piece bar band from Florida with some influential pals that add to the festivities that really know how to kick up their heels. Not everyone has to light up an arena to light up the night and this hard working bunch knows how to find their glories in head lights as opposed to stadium lights. Because of that intimacy, they deliver a treat you can really call your own. Hot stuff that's also a smoking reminder of how it was when bands like Heart were cutting their teeth in dumps for our enjoyment.

TONITE LETS ALL MAKE LOVE IN LONDON/soundtrack: One of those lost classic albums that's never been out on cd despite having it's original release in 1968, this is a cleffer to a groovy/psych pic that has nascent Pink Floyd, Vashti, Mick Jagger, Julie Christie and just about anyone else you can think of to make this a ‘happening'. It was the 60s, kids. This is how it was when grown ups tried to be relevant to the kids----to grab their money. Crazy, crazy stuff for anyone that enjoys the absurd, particularly with marquee names involved.

MYSTIC JOURNEY/Kingdom of Mountains: It's not lip service that this crew is committed to healing. Genentech gave away 50,000 pieces of their healing music to help the patients recovery as much as the corporation's drug. You can feel the crew's new home in the desert influencing the sounds on parade here, even John Densmore had to kick in a few observations that have nothing to do with this music helping you break on through to the other side. The world beat tranquility of this set with help you to stop being a rider on the storm, that's for sure. Check it out and let the healing begin.

JIM STUBBLEFIELD/Guitare Mystique: Taking a break from his group, Incendio, Stubblefield lines up with some jazz and rock pals for a set that indulges his love of fantasy art and related materials. Loaded with world elements, this vibe of this record is hard to pin down other than to say it's excellent throughout. With everyone on their toes to deliver the goods, fans of laid back, world guitar will enjoy the trip this set takes them on. You can be fooled into thinking this is background music but it's anything but. Check it out.

PLUCKY STRUM (SHERYL BAILEY & HARVIE S)/Departure: The Shakers had it right when they were talking about simple gifts. This vet jazzbo duo comes back for round two of nothing but their guitar/bass duets that just keep blowing you away. With nothing more than a few effects tossed in there and there to augment their talents, they'll leave you rapt enough that you'll forget there's just the two of them pulling this off. They're making their mark as a duo for the ages. It's might be simple, but it really burns bright. These two certainly don't play like they have day jobs as professors!

Volume 40/Number 240
June 29, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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