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AMY LONDON/Bridges: The magic of working on classic tunes in a classic mode with a classic vibe is that you can take old tapes down off the shelf and bring them back to life even after 25 years of sitting unreleased in the back of the closet. London peels back the years to when she first arrived in New York and recorded with some crème of the croppers on a lovely jazz vocal set that's right at home in any segment of the calendar. Tasty stuff from a pro that got it right sooner than she might have realized, this is way more than a valentine for the fans. Jazz vocal fans need to get a load of what she's been holding out on us all these years.

SATOKO FUJII ORCHESTRA NEW YORK/Fukushima: Wilcos, jazzbos, hell raisers, they all come together under the improv baton of the Japanese jazz master as she dedicates a work to a nuclear disaster. As wild and woolly as ever, she captures and impressionistic version of everything that could go wrong now and in the future as things went wrong. A sure bet for the violently left of center listener, this finds Fujii breaking new ground--if you can imagine that.

COUSIN HARLEY/Blue Smoke-The Music of Merle Travis: Since Travis' greatest hits were mostly recorded by others, there's no manqueing around here as this rockabilly crew celebrates Travis' 100th birthday in high octane, fine style. Dead, solid perfect and killer throughout, they have the sound, feel and fury to make this a real high water mark of set. Real rock for real rockers.

PERSEVERANCE-The Music of Rich DeRosa at North Texas: While the jazz program at UNT goes back for ever, this different kind of greatest hits package only looks at the short time DeRosa has been arranger and driving force in the program since 2011. With tracks from all the mainstay editions of the various bands in the program, this stands as a cohesive collection due to the fact it just plain kicks ass throughout. With several Grammy nominations for the works on board here already in tow, you have to remember and remind yourself this are just kids doing this. Solid stuff any mainstream jazzbo will love.

NICE!-Jay Saunders' Best of the Two: You'd expect a cat that has time with Kenton on his résumé to know a thing or two about big band but here we see he can teach what he knows as well. Leading the Two O'clock Lab Band through their paces, this is as smoking as any A team big band recording that you are going to find. With two discs of letting the kids learn while they earn (their chops, that is), you can fully here echoes here of when music meant a good time to be had by all---including the players. A winner that's not to be missed.

LEGACY-Neil Slater at North Texas: While the definitive story of North Texas's jazz program has obviously yet to be written, here a tribute to the longest running head of the program, collecting all the recorded works done at his direction over time. With tracks going back to the 80s, you can here the evolution that came and went with the times as well as you can hear the quality level that never varied. Killer jazz from kids that were out to conquer the world no matter when they stepped up, this is the kind of retrospective that gets nominated for Grammys and deserves to win them. A fatly tracked wonderland of instrumental jazz voices going on their way to greater glories.

PAPER CANOE COMPANY/Beanstalk Jack: The little empress from "Neverending Story" is still in touch with her kiddie side and still wants to being the fun to the kids. Repositioning the Jack & the Beanstalk story with new embellishments, and of course a soundtrack that never existed before, she breaks all the contemporary wisdom rules to bring the kids a smoking little performance that'll actually hold the attention of kids of all ages. A finely done, new creative work, the kiddie canon has a welcome addition here.

AARON ARANITA/Segunda Vista: The sax man writes ‘em and he enlisted Clare Fischer's kid and his pals to play ‘em. A wonderful big band date of real music for real listeners, this is the heart of jazzbo territory stuff where they knock it out of the park just like the old school cats did it back in the day. Well done at all levels, this is one of the finest pure listening instrumental dates you can encounters. A pat on the back to all involved.

Volume 41/Number 28
November 28, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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