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GUY MENDILOW ENSEMBLE/Music from the Forgotten Kingdom: Mendilow wanted to do a set of traditional music but an authority told him either he keeps it true to it's roots or he does what he wants but doesn't call it traditional. Glad to see he thumbed his nose at the know it all. A wild, world beat mash up that feels operatic in scope, this is one set sure to take you places you've only heard in dreams. A mash up of sounds from the middle east and beyond, this is way more than girl friend music exotica, this is an armchair traveler's deluxe accommodation. A total delight for the adventurous, adult ears.

MARNIX BUSSTRA/Old School Band: A fun inspired set in which some musical pals with relationships dating back 30 years to their cover band days bring on the funk as well as the fun. The old school here has several subtexts but there's only one that matters to the listener, the jam what am! A tasty, sweet diversion throughout from some pro pals that know how to get it done right.

CARL VERHEYEN/Essential Blues: What is this ax man? Country? Rock? Blues? Americana? What? He does it all and rocks the joint completely in the process. One of those background cats that you've probably been digging for years without realizing it, he makes it look/sound so easy that he could single handedly increase guitar sales. A smart, smoking set that spreads good vibes like a short order cook spreads mayo. Smoking stuff throughout.

TOM GUARNA/Wishing Stones: Leading a crew of leaders on this date, the jazz guitar man goes more for texture here than on previous releases lending an almost impressionistic caste to the proceedings. Chops fans be warned, they do fly in abundance as the set progresses and the whole crew gets props for finding something new to say in a world where everything has increasingly been said. Smart sitting down, listening jazz in abundance.

SIMPKIN PROJECT/Beam of Light: Not purely reggae as it's a mash up of that and more, this lively up yourself sound hit's the target nicely with room to spare. A right on set that you can enjoy coming from almost any culture, there's a party going on and this set reminds you of your right not to let anyone take that from you. Smart and sharp throughout, this is a mighty antidote to the stridency that's in the air too much these days but still gets the message across.

LENA BLOCH & FEATHERY/Heart Knows: A Brooklyn by way of Russia sax player combines the melancholy found in both places and pieces the veil with her sound that gives the left leaning ears a new taste treat. Sitting down jazz all the way, Bloch and her accomplished pals know how to serve the sound and how to serve the sound right. Open eared listeners will enjoy this set.

LIKHO DUO/Blues and World Beyond: Can a duo that's half Italian and half blind with one member being half the age of the other get together to make some killer back porch, acoustic music? Yep, and here's the proof. Simply sweet stuff that'll take you back to the campus coffeehouse days where incredible playing could be heard for the cost of what you threw in the hat as it was passed. If they sang, you could say these two could sing the phone book and make it interesting. A winner throughout.

KELLY Z/Rescue: A real belter of a set from our kind of all night gal, this white girl with the blues might serve up a set of covers but she knows how to make them all her own. Not too shabby when she's covering Tina Turner, Isaac Hayes and James Brown among others. Smoking southern soul/R&B, this is a sure fire party on a platter that rocks the joint all night long.

NEIL YOUNG/Hitchhiker: Just when you thought anything new from a legacy act is just a cash grab, here comes Young with a solo set from 1976 that's previously unreleased. If you're looking for the heart of gold he once espoused before turning into a high tech rockabilly rebel, this unreconstructed set that almost sounds like an intimate set of demos that has David Briggs in the producer chair is something that'll hit home. Simple and direct and harkening back to a time when music drove the culture.

VAL STARR & THE BLUES ROCKET/I Always Turn the Blues On: Anyone who thinks those pissed off old black women with the blues weren't singing songs about empowerment just wasn't listening to a lot of the lyrics. Cut to modern white girls with the blues and we call it girl power. Of course, this girl knows about the power since she was one of the first to have a day job as a pioneer of streaming music. She hasn't lost her sense of fun and the band is a family affair as well. We know this gal never picked no cotton but she's got the real feel . Hot stuff.

SAM NEWSOME & JEAN-MICHEL PILC/Magic Circle: When two pros that have been playing improv by mental telepathy for years, they don't even need to throw a pretend label name on their record when they just want to get together for a duo, free form jam that let's them do their thing and color outside the margins as furiously as they want. Sax/piano improv fans have now have the template that hundreds of lousy restaurant duos will be trying to copy for years. Hot stuff for genre fans.

Volume 40/Number 321
September 18, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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