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BENNY BENACK III/One of a Kind: A modern, swinging cat, this singing trumpeter has the best of the downtown cats right in step with him as they tear off a rousing good time of swinging cool on mostly originals that are right in the pocket as well. Tasty, tasty stuff from a cat with a long, familiar musical heritage that runs way deeper than him being just another legacy from Harrisburg, Benack brings all the missing swing you've been looking for. A smoking date that works righteously throughout.

MISTER G/Mundo Verde (Green World): I don't know if it's a blessing or a curse but G sounds like Paul Simon making world beat for kids that doesn't make them feel like kids. His recent Latin Grammy must bear out that this isn't a curse. Easily rolling and flowing, this magically hypnotic recording takes you for a great ride and it's just the right length for helicopter parents ferrying the tykes around to all the lessons and activities that keep them from doing real parenting. Since the average gringo doesn't know what the hell is going on here anyway, it's a damn fine world beat record for any self respecting armchair traveler whether above or below bar mitzvah age. Check it out.

NEW KINGSTON/A Kingston Story-Come From Far: Remember how once you got into Marley, you started digging deeper in to all these groups on Virgin and Island that were kind of cool but way too indigenous and cheaply recorded to really grab you beyond toking a spliff or two to them? With new tech at their finger tips, these Brooklyn kids with the island in their blood deliver on the promise you wanted those records to have. Sounding like they are skanking to you directly from Trenchtown, this is the real sound of blazing one up under a sun that is blazing a touch too much. Hot, hard heavy stuff that is more interested in keeping it real than keeping it irie, this is some seriously dope shit. Whew.

JESSICA MOLASKEY/Portraits of Joni: With the highly estimable PS Classics label sidelined, the home for Broadway vocalists that want to stretch their wings has become even more limited. The Flying Pizzarelli's step into the breach with a new label to give flight to their musings in the meanwhile. I can't tell you how many idiots come through here telling me they are the next Joni Mitchell. Yeah. It takes a singular talent to even approach the canon of a singular talent. Molaskey goes so far as to capture the essence of Mitchell in her cover art. Not an homage, tribute or place holder, Molaskey captures everything you ever loved about Mitchell, covering songs from all the various phases of her career and doing it with such love and precision, you almost feel like this is a throw back to the golden age of singer/songwriter teams like Bacharach/Warwick, Hatch/Clark, Lieber-Stoller/Elvis etc. This set does as much for Molaskey as it does Mitchell. Killer stuff throughout.

DAVID LOPATO/Gendhing for a Spirit Rising: If you're old enough admit it. Once upon a time, one of your friends moms that was headed for a nervous breakdown was trying to foist gamelan music on you and all you could think was ‘what is this shit?'. Ah, the golden age of cheap world beat records that weren't really helping the cause, right? Lopato leaves all that in the dust with a gamelan based mash up that fuses everything from Steve Reich to glockenspiel into the mix and comes away with an engaging, entrancing set made by someone that has been immersed in the sound, loves it and wants to spread the joy he's found. A silk road of a double cd set, this wild, boundless set explores in a way that you thought only hippies could when they were looking into the third eye----but without the smug pretentiousness. One of those wonderful educators that hasn't let academe go to his head, he offers a most wonderful wild ride through the spheres and the cosmos that'll blow you head wide open. Killer stuff.

HAZELRIGG BROTHERS/Songs We Like: Actually high end audio manufacturers, these brothers have the freedom to have all the fun they want and that's what you get in this piano trio date where "Living in the Past" gets a cocktail jazz treatment and rock classics get turned on their heads with serious but gleeful abandonment. A fun diversion played straight, this is one delight of a palette cleanser.

PATRICK BRADLEY/Intangible: A bigwig at Whole Foods, who has a parallel life as a fusion keyboardist, has producer Jeff Lorber do a rolodex round up of his first call pals to come and so some serious fusion swinging. Assuring himself a place in the Amazon universe on the record side if the Amazon/Whole Foods deal ever goes through and Bezos sacks the whole lot of them for robots, Bradley will be well on his way to become one of adult ear's best friends. For an album that's supposed to be a tribute to all the dead guys that shaped his musical philosophy, Bradley get toes tapping and smiles spreading with the grooves on deck here. Well done.

BRUCE HARRIS/Beginnings: United Artists was famous for recording over old master tapes or tossing them altogether. UA eventually bought Blue Note. Since Posi-Tone strays from using the label all stars as the backing crew, it would be fair to assume the label found these tapes in the garbage out behind Universal, the current owner of Capitol/UA/Blue Note, who has been disposing of old master tapes of things going public domain in England. Either that or Alfred Lion is alive, hiding out with Elvis, and still twisting the knobs. This young trumpeter is right out of the best gates of the Blue Note tradition being a fully formed modern daddio that knows how to deliver and does it as second nature. Nu classic jazz that hits all the right notes, every time.

LAURIE BERKNER/Dance Remixes: What an ingenious way for a kiddie music superstar to stay relevant, re-expose old catalog and keep old fans remembering her fondly. Staying in touch via You Tube, she finds her old 5 year old fans are now 15 and remember her the way you remember "Saved by the Bell". With the young ‘uns liking to bounce to EDM, she dug up the old master tapes and refashioned them rather than just remaster them for a greatest hits package. Adding Elvis like longevity to her career, it'll be quite a while before the next crop of 5 year olds address her as "Ma'am". Madonna take note

WOOTEN CHAMBERS FRANCESCHINI/Trypnotyx: Other than he plays bass a little better (hahaha) than I do, what's the difference between me and Wooten? Well, if I were him, I'd be crediting my records to The Great Victor Wooten rather than take his modest way out. Having been a fan since seeing him live in Milwaukee back when the earth was cooling and not believing what I was hearing AND seeing, his forward thinking approach to everything here isn't surprising, it's simply a gasser and the only thing you have to hold his feet to the fire about is why he had to make us wait 5 years for this new record. With an awfully unassuming look for such a total badass, that dead pan look makes him come across as that much more entertaining. Just put this on and let the trailblazer do his amazing thing. Hot stuff.

Volume 40/Number 290
August 18, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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