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RAFFAELE CALIFANO/Horizontal Dialogues: Straight up, hard driving jazz from a drummer led crew who excels in letting his compares have some as well. The kind of playing that gets your blood flowing, these muscular cats have a way of getting inside the music and bringing the best out. Tasty stuff that does more than just getting the job done.

HALLOWEEN GARAGE BLUES/various: Iggy Pop, Junior Wells, Blues Image and loads of other incongruous acts together celebrating Halloween. Looks like we missed the boat on this a little bit for this year, but, hey, they release all the slasher movies in January and roller coasters run all year, so anytime is a good time for some scary fun--especially when it's done right, right? Prepared with care and you can get this in tie for next year now.

DAVE KEYES/The Healing: A rollicking piano player that's played with the best decided to make a come together record that had to have been recorded before all the recent headlines of extended gloom and doom. With a lot of miles on his odometer, he still takes it outside his perceived comfort zone with a set that calls for healing without a trace of "Kumbiya". I'd rather rollick my way to peace, love and understanding anyway. Fun stuff that goes from a white boy with the blues's heart to yours.

LEA SALONGA/Sings Traditional Songs of the Philippines-Bahaghari Rainbow: Ditching her Broadway chops for a moment, Salonga goes back home to kick it out indigenously with her over all chops in tact. Bringing a Broadway sensibility to songs from all the main regions of Philippines, just because you're a gringo doesn't mean you can't enjoy the vocal gymnastics she brings to bear with any over kill. A fun to expand your horizons in fine form.

MAZZLE/Genetic Modified Art: Here's a smart jazz piano trio that takes it somewhere else. No church basement, no daddio, nothing that goes beyond being a great sitting down, listening date that has it all on the ball. Easy to take throughout, these cats love jazz and make it special as only their eyes and ears can. Well done throughout.

POPA CHUBBY/Two Dogs: The hard charging blues rocker recorded his hard charging blues rock peace and love album at home in Hudson Valley where hippies still roam the earth. This is the cat that can make something like that work. A rollicking version of "Hallelujah? Check. Here's the proof you have to roll with the times---and he does.

SOREN NISSEN/Departures: The Canadian bass ace reflects on his voyage to India with thoughtful pieces that reflect his impressionistic nature of the whole thing. Thoughtful music made to be listened to at ease, even when his gang turns it up, they want you sitting down to take it all in. Fine stuff from one of the leaders of the next wave.

RETA WATKINS/That Christmas Feeling: Now more than ever, it feels like we need an old fashioned, swinging Christmas so why not have a New Englander pack it off to Nashville to swing the classics and sneak in a few originals that follow the form. Tasty stuff that lends itself to being an impressive debut that warms the heart as well as the toes. Solid stuff that should be able to be enjoyed after the holidays have come and gone just because it adds such sunshine.

THE RAILSPLITTERS/Jump In: Like New Grass revival, like Nickel Creek, Railsplitters take bluegrass to new places and turn it into real bluegas. Organic throughout, their apple might not fall far from the tree but it seems to have eyes that give it a killer world view. No matter how back porch they keep their sound, they have a big enough tent that anyone that wants to wander in is welcomed. Hot stuff that opens the ears nicely.

STEVE HECKMAN & MATT CLARK/Some Other Time-Slow Café: You can't argue with class & style. Culled from 2 2004 sessions, this sax-piano duo has all they need to make a big sound right at their command. Filling in all the white space that you might expect on a duo date with a boatload of joyous noise, whether hitting chestnuts or originals the verve they bring to the fore will grab your attention and keep it. Tasty stuff like the kind they used to make, this pair's fifth go round is more than the charm. Well done throughout.

Volume 41/Number 7
November 7, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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