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NICK MACLEAN QUARTET/Rites of Ascension: A young lion piano man you can't argue with, it doesn't take any thought to do a tribute to Herbie Hancock set but it does take being an old soul to it like he was there when things older than him were created. A well deserved award winner in many jazz and music circles, Maclean leads his crew into the untamed wilds of really doing right rather than just showing up. A smoking set that sounds and feels like the real thing, this forward into the past set---where most of the songs are originals--- is a first class doozy. Killer stuff throughout.

KING CRIMSON/Live In Chicago: Recorded in Chi last summer, look, you're either in the cult or you aren't. This double discer captured a spirited set that shows what the live Crimson experience is really about. With Fripp leading the current edition of the gang through 50 years worth of Crimsanity, this is so mighty that it might even convince those not in the cult to be there. A text book example of what prog is all about.

ERIC BYRD TRIO/Saints are Still Marching: This crew might take jazz to church but the results are good timing, ecumenical music for all. Solid swingers that must have spent some time in the sanctified church to feel free to swing like this, a good time will be had by all even if you're being purified while the date plays. Winning stuff that's good for both religion and jazz.

LINDSAY BELLOWS/Wake to Dream: Who made up the rule that folkie and shoe gaze had to merge? Can we blame all of this on the current state of affairs or what?

BRAD GARTON & DAVE SOLDER/Brainwave Music Project: The return of a great hippie concept! A couple of brainiacs hooked up EEG machines to actual brains and recorded the actual sounds turning it into wild, found music. It sounds egg headed but it makes great acid trip music. Wild stuff that left fields will fall in love with.

PHIL DeGREG TRIO/Queen City Blues: Cincinnati jazz's secret weapon with international acclaim, this educator is here to turn your light up a notch with his trio of ten years playing behind his piano as one. A cat that knows how to really swing, this hard driving set brings originals and disparate covers together with a silver thread and makes it all sparkle. Tasty stuff for ears that want to come out to play.

LISA HILTON/Escapism: For her 20th record, Hilton reaches down to that place beyond her normal jazz lady moves and really connects with her inner, inner jazzbo going full tilt to take her places she hasn't been as well as blow open your mind and ears. With some new pals on board that really bring the jazz---as they can do in their sleep---along with her stalwarts, this is a hot, happening date that charts a new course for pianist Hilton. Tasty jamming throughout, this is clearly Hilton as you never heard her before. And it works throughout. Well done.

SAMANTHA FISH/Belle of the West: The Kansas City white gal with the blues that kicked off her recording career about a decade back in Germany now finds herself in the hands of the North Mississippi All Stars for a wild, industrial folk sounding set that really takes her to new places. A dandy ear opener that charts welcome new courses, Fish is no fish out of water when it comes to making it work no matter what. A great bag breaker of a set that's going to start giving her a place in college dorms everywhere. Hot.

ORI DAGAN/Nathaniel-Tribute to Nat King Cole: You thought Diana Krall's tribute set was the last word in Cole tributes? That was a tribute to the Cole Trio, this is a tribute to Cole. It means we get stuck with the dreaded "Nature Boy" but the rest of the set is as tasty as it gets. With some great jazzbos on board to make it all happen, it's no wonder that was already an award winner before you ever heard of it. Jazz vocal that hit's the target each time up.

JENNIFER SARAN/Soulful Christmas: Saran sends us her holiday best from Hong Kong once again, but this time adding the Temptations to the mix and serving up the kind of old school soul Christmas set that makes things feel like home. Coming at us from a direction we wouldn't expect from a white gal, she finds the blue eyed soul in the holidays and makes it all as sweet as the best cranberry, chocolate holiday bars. Tasty stuff throughout that sets some new holiday traditions quite easily.

Volume 41/Number 11
November 11, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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