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GHOST TRAIN ORCHESTRA/Book of Rhapsodies Vol. II: How can the left fielders out there not love Brian Carpenter for wanting to revisit Raymond Scott because he felt Scott wasn't weird enough? If that's not enough, he dives into the works of other period cats that you'd have to be Irwin Chusid to be familiar with and gives them the same treatment. A real funhouse mirror journey through the past, this is no mere round of creativity for the sake of showing how precious you can be----this is the work of someone that could make a real living playing it straight but is ruled by his passions. Certainly not a joy ride for moldy figs, this is the kind of stuff that really separates the malcontents from the poseurs. Killer stuff if you've got the right ears; like if you appreciated "Discover America" when it was first released. Well done.

JOHNNY RAWLS/Waiting for a Train: One nice thing about being a blues man is that you aren't tossed with the whims of pop culture and can keep going as long as you keep delivering. At it way too long, owning the charts and awards en masse along the way, Rawls is too smart to blow it now. Without repeating himself, he keeps the good vibes express rolling with soul/blues that keep hitting the target every time out. A solid set sure to get him more metal for his mantle, Rawls entertains like the solid pro he is, delivering the goods again throughout. Hot stuff.

SLAUGHTER & THE DOGS/Tokyo Dogs: First gen Madchester punks crank it up live for the kids that are now adults but aren't giving into boomer bands on victory laps. The anger is still in force and anyone who was there the first time around with know when to let loose with the ‘Oi's. Hard hitting crunchy noize that might be more of a force than Lipator for the target audience.

EUGENE TYLER BAND/Young Randy: They say they grew up on Sturgill Simpson and Drive By Truckers but damned if they don't sound like some Loudon Wainwright bastards that'll show up with the Roche/Wainwrights on tour soon enough. With a low fi folkie reflection on the humorous side of how life sucks, like Wainwright, they aren't for everyone but this is the kind of stuff that inspires rabid, loyal cults that tide you over until the nu Judd Apatow comes along to save the day. Left leaning folkie stuff sure to turn your head inside out.

MILE TWELVE/Onwards: It feels like the 60s again as this nu bluegrass crew is from Boston, playing it in nu traditional style, fusing their influences and passions into a classic whole that cooks and works throughout. Easily bluegrass for people that think they don't like bluegrass, are the Charles River Boys smiling down upon this endeavor? A tasty set that sets the toes to tapping as the grins are spreading with the picking. Check out this winner.

ROB SCHNEIDERMAN/Tone Twister: So, when is a math genius not a math genius? I don't know, that just seemed like a good lede. Math genius Schneiderman, who plays like anything but an egghead but uses math in an obvious musical way, serves up his first date in a decade with a smoking jazzbo crew in tow, sounding very much like a jazzbo going Latin in the 50s. A smoking sizzling date from a pro that never had any fear of doing what it took to rise through the ranks and earning while he learned, the piano man leads the crew in raising a joyful noise that any mainstream groover will prothelize over. If you don't know this cat from his past glories, it's time to get in queue. Hot stuff throughout.

JARED HALL/Hallways: A tyro set by a trumpet cat the label owner is too cool to call a protégé instead insisting he's a mentoree. All on board are a little long in tooth to really be called tyros, but these young lions have already jazzed it up with august personages and peerages and can make their angular statement for the future now. A tasty, adventurous set that finds these cats feeling their oats and not going gently into that good night to play cocktail jazz, this is thinking man's, sitting down hot stuff. A natch to go with clove ciggies and groovy waitresses, these cats play the other side of daddio jazz and do it with real style. Well done.

DUKE ROBILLARD/Duke & his Dames of Rhythm: Pity about the incomparable Robillard coming down with Alzheimer's. How else can you explain that he forgot to repeat himself and shows up with a wild selection of vocalists that you wouldn't expect to appear on the same disc together as well as a bunch of musos he hasn't worked with before? Or is something else a foot? From the opening muted blast of Jon-Erik Kelso's trumpet, there's no doubt this is going to be a wild journey through the jazz past, like the 30s or so. The last word in modern takes on vintage swing, anyone who says this sounds out of date is a jerk. A completely tasty date any real adult listener will praise to the heavens, this is a master making an extra special effort to outdo himself----and he does. A monster killer throughout.

RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA'S INDO PAK COALITION/Agrima: Getting the old crew back together for the first time in a decade, this ain't no Shakti or Subramanian adventure, this is where Indian tunes kind of meet new age in a real trip through the dark continent. Wild stuff with a modern edge even while keeping it traditional, this is real delight for the armchair traveler.

VERVE JAZZ ENSEMBLE/Swing a Nova: A wild mix of classic pop and classic jazz delivered in a post bop, breakneck speed, the crew delivers their hottest stuff yet. A great roller coaster ride right down the middle, they have no agenda but to play great a make sure a grand time is had by all. Without a note out of place, this is the kind of bunch that can bring a party to a stand still as everyone just gathers around the bandstand. Hot stuff throughout.

Volume 40/Number 326
September 23, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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