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ANDY ADAMSON QUINTET/First Light: A keyboard man that's been at it for 50 years puts himself front and center enough that you'd be able to hear if he's ground his joints into mush, Adamson likes to get wild and wooly taking the whole thing to places Brian Auger would think were out of bounds in his jazz/rock excursions. Often taking the church basement to the penthouse, Adamson and his gang sound like the kind of crew that soul easily bring the house down in a live setting. This stuff gets your blood flowing.

BRIAN LANDRUS ORCHESTRA/Generations: Surrounding himself with a load of the names that make us excited to open the next package that arrives in the mail, sax man Landrus has his finger on the pulse here. Executing his big band vision, he takes off the blinders and goes full bore into the future with such solid aim that this little mind blower is destined to be a classic. With the kind of forward thinking, sure handedness you find in big band leaders from Stan Kenton to Carla Bley, Landrus serves more way more than creativity for the sake of creativity. This is nothing short of a grand listening experience that'll blow your mind from start to finish.

ELI COOK/High Dollar Gospel: It's no hype to say that Cook is the kind of guitar slinger that sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads. No mere white boy with the blues, Cook has the growl, the string mastery and the special sauce that you'd rather taste than analyze. Hard charging and high octane throughout, Cook is going to be lighting up the sky with his love of the blues and the adventures he can have taking it places it's never been before. Killer stuff.

EPHRATA: If you never got the whole twee/shoe gaze/I hate my parents thing, this set brings the 90s into the 10s and washes it allover with some deceptive, sunshine pop vibes. This is totally Beavis' idea of college music.

Ron Francis Blake/Assimilation: What you're going to like about this disc it that it's jazz before it was mortally wounded by lazy record execs trying to fit the format and the jive ass consultants that gave radio a format that needed to be fit into. Not daddio just, just solid blowing from a trumpet man that loves his work and knows how to bring the right people together in the studio. The kind of solid playing starved ears are always on the look our for, it's a high octane winner throughout loaded with twists, turns and good vibes for all. Smoking whether going Latin or covering Joanna Newsom.

LIZ RUBINO/Woman Under the Covers: The wildly diverse set card of established material from various sources can have you thinking this is a cabaret set. Or you might think it's a jazz vocal set. It's sort of both and sort of neither. A pop singer with a saloon esthetic, this is actually a well polished set that harkens back to the days when several singers would put out the same song at the same time and let the best singer win. Rubino has the chops and she puts them in service of something out of the ordinary that used to be usual. Fun stuff for mature listeners that are simply looking for something juicy to dig in to. Solid.

GLOOM BALLOON/Drying the Eyes of the Goddess of Gloom Underneath the Stars and the Moon: Are you old enough to remember wondering what the big deal was about the Wicker Park sound? If not, hey, look, stage one indie rock is back

HAL GALPER & the Youngbloods/Live at the Cota Jazz Festival: Not so much of a passing of the torch as it is a lighting of the way, the 50 year jazzbo vet brings some young ‘uns into the spotlight to bring his vision to a new generation of players and listeners. Highlighting the Delaware Water Gap sound as originally brought home by the Omnisound gang, Galper scans his back pages for tunes from 40 years ago that need a new focus and appreciation. A solid set where the stretching out is all on point, this is mighty, top shelf listening jazz that is as loaded with bullet train roller coastering as it is just the opposite. A smoking serving of contemporary jazz throughout.

SWEET AS BROKEN DATES/various: And for those of you that don't think things like this can happen---on the eve of a two decade long civil war in Somalia, a bold crew of audiologists buried 50 years worth of tapes as the country's radio central was about to be bombed to cripple communications. The lost tapes have been unearthed. Exotic and ethnic, at the very least, this is some first class girl friend music, at best, it's a killer find for the armchair traveler. This is exactly the kind of stuff Nonesuch Explorer was started for. Check it out if you have a taste for the out of the ordinary.

SUBHI/Shaitaan Dil: Leaving India to work in Wall Street finance, Subhi found that she was really a pop star at heart and found her way to Chicago to blend Chicago jazz with Indian poetry and create the kind of stuff that used to sneak onto the charts as novelty records that couldn't be stopped. Sounding more like Japanese sunshine pop than Bollywood, the baby doll voice over the jazz chops hits just the right chord to work well even of you don't know what she's singing out. Obviously meant to be more than a novelty, this is fun stuff that you have to hear to believe. Check it out.

TOM KOHL/Dance With the Sun: It's the phrasing that makes all the difference. Kohl's piano trio can take what should be nice crime jazz and turn it into modern film noir jazz just ripe for the picking by any modern filmmaker that knows how to cater to modern audiences raised on music vids. Angular and smart, Kohl leads his co-horts through a well paced work out that has everyone on their toes and all ears standing at attention. A cat that shows how to do a lot with a little, this is a set that really wakes up jaded ears. Well done.

Volume 40/Number 255
July 14, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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