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CHET BAKER/Riverside Collection 1958-1960: Now that most of Baker's primo years have pretty much been swept under Universal's umbrella in one way or another, it can be difficult for purists to suss out what came from what period as anthologies can now be muddied affairs with free aplomb. This collection focuses on the eight albums he did in two years for Riverside that pretty much even over shadowed his Pacific Jazz years. A crack bandleader that rubbed elbows with many of the greats of the period, this set is one killer after another that often takes daddio jazz to the next level of the game. Quintessentially west coast cool with some inner mounting flame aboard, this is a mighty collection that could be the jumping in point for any would be daddio. Killer stuff throughout.

DUKE ELLINGTON/His Classic Collaborations 1956-1963: Enlightenment is well known for giving us classic music by the pound but with this collection they kick it up a notch. Ellington left such a massive catalog to work with that this set is the first time we can remember Enlightenment pushing the limit by making a themed collection. Rounding up Ellington collaboration sets with august jazzbos on equal footing with him, this is the kind of set that can make you forget a few of the false notes he played along the way. Tasty stuff rounding up the best of the best, any jazzbo will agree that this is a good time to be had by all.

JIM KWESKIN/Unjugged: The latest in the line of old folkies that shouldn't be forgotten that Hornbeam has picked up and dusted off is a good time jug band folkie whose greatest crime was not realizing that the times they were a changing--even when managed by Bob Dylan's manager concurrently with Zim. Sounding pretty much the same as he did almost 60 years ago as a good time folkie/hippie/beatnik, this is a killer reminder of how much fun it was when music was organic and cats like John Prine could rise out from the audience and kick everyone's ass. Even doing some of the songs he did back in the day, you can't say he's improved with age because it seems like he hasn't aged. Hats off again to the Hornbeam crew for making an original record by an original that needed to be made. Great stuff.

RAHSAAN BARBER/Music in the Night: It takes the chops of a progressive cat to make an album of standards and not make it sound like a gift shop record. After the sax man set sail with his first two sets of original and cutting edge material, this time around he doesn't feel the need to leave everything on the field when he can lay back, cover just as much ground and just make people feel good. Tasty stuff on stuff you know (and sometimes know too well) that just works well as zesty entertainment. A fine breather of a set that let's you turn off the news and relax in fine style. Well done.

JIGJAM/Live in Tullamore: How come nobody has pointed out a simple fact about these Irish award winners? They are Ireland's answer to New Grass Revival. Mixing trad local sounds with American bluegrass, the two sounds with the same DNA merge organically and seamlessly into a delightful whole that is tailor made for good times and good timing. An engagingly upbeat set that doesn't need changes of pace, this crew can keep playing like this forever and the sound will never wear out it's welcome. Killer stuff throughout.

RICHARD THOMPSON BAND/Live at Rockpalast: Since this was recorded in the early 80s, it might not be the career retrospective the hard core Thomsonista might have been waiting for, but it was recorded before the record companies decided that a new Richard Thompson album was just another exercise in putting out a reliable record that would sell 125,000 without effort, it's the hottest core of a career retrospective you are going to get. With all the key pre-mid 80s tracks played rip roaringly live with Nicol, Peggy and Mattacks in tow (the hard core know), this is smoking stuff throughout. Packaged as 3 cds and 2 DVDs, there's plenty of hard core Thompson here to go around. A cd and DVD are from a show at MIDEM when the industry still thought they could deliver him to higher heights and the gang plays accordingly in a real rouser of a set. Even Thompson himself couldn't have delivered a better valentine to the fans.

CAPTAIN OF SORROW/Racetrack Babies: Twee and shoe gaze take on a new direction as bombastic backing backs melancholy lyrics and moods---just what the average college kid with a bad attitude is looking for. The cats are down with the down mouthed and know their thoughts like they were reading the kids minds.

BRIAN AUGER & the Trinity & Julie Driscoll/Untold Tales of the Brian Auger Trinity: The white boy that showed a generation how to handle a B3 and was one of the inventors of jazz/rock showed up for a festival in Italy where things quickly went sideways and a riot was stopped by his quick thinking and musical pluck. The crew here is working in impromptu battle conditions in less than optimal situations and show their mettle finely. Now you now one of the real reasons this wheels been on fire for so long. Not a technically great recording but a smoking performance.

ROZINA PATKAI/Paraiso Na Terra: So, for her second record, Patkai takes her bossa nova by way of Hungary sound into more left leaning jazz realms without giving up the original roots of the sound that first brought her to our attention. The salmagundi is something so delightfully different in tone and texture that this is a fascination for a wider ranging group that just armchair travelers. A fun house ride of sound that careens dazzlingly and madly through the aural world, the open eared have something here that belongs on all their musical Christmas gift lists. A winner throughout.

GODFATHER TRILOGY-Omerta Edition: Does it get any better than this? Well actually, were waiting for the directors cut of "Godfather Saga" with all three pics edited together in order of storytelling time with deleted scenes accessible without branching or watching out of context later---but such is another story for another time we can look forward to. In the here and now, we have a numbered, limited edition remaster on Blu Ray of all three movies under one cover with extra collectors geek goodies that haven't been this way before. If this 45th anniversary edition isn't the number gift on your fave malandreet's Christmas list, what could be?. This is an offer you can't refuse.

Volume 41/Number 18
November 18, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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