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CAL TJADER/Classic Fantasy Collection 1953-192: First we solve the mystery too many of you have encountered while scouring the bargain bins. As much as he loved Latin jazz, the unusual spelling of his name is because it's Swedish! Although it seems like he made a zillion records, many with sexy covers, this collection of 9 lps only hints at what was to come, cover wise. And then we deal with another mystery. Was he known as a vibist or a drummer? Well, he was a multi instrumentalist and if he had our modern recording techniques at his disposal, he probably would have been a hot, one man band. This set shows his genesis that started his march toward a long over due Grammy decades later. Lightly Latin throughout, just right for nascent suburban rec rooms in the 50s, Tjader's tjazz was the antidote for parents that didn't want their kids bopping to junkies. Always swinging with the right sway, it's time you quit cruising the bargain bins for the covers and get down with the music, all of it grand.

JOHN COLTRANE/Classic Collaborations 1957-1963: Luckily for us, Coltrane was recorded so proficiently in so many professional situations that his legacy can be served up in many ways. This set of 8 classics finds him facing off with a variety of co-horts, all letting him do his thing and all of his things appropriate to the given situation. A towering daddio jazzer of all time, Coltrane could play for rec rooms and junkies just as easily either way. A well rounded set that finds him in company ranging from Ellington to Monk, hell raiser or not, he always made every note count.

LALO SCHIFRIN/The Early Years: Schifrin is one of those cats like Michel Legrand. If I had one or two of their monsters under my belt, I'd have called it day. Here we find a long over due appreciation of Schifrin's out of the box years when he was learning as he was earning making pretty music for the people at the record company direction and catching a Brazilian wave before finding his métier in TV and film composing where he just plain towered. The skills are on parade here, even if being told what to do, you can hear a nascent Mancini stepping up to the podium. Coming at you from a background in jazz and classical, he kept his wits about him and you know what happened next. Even if a little too laid back, this is a nice look at a pro at work, and you even get some of his experimental side in the mix as well. Check it out.

PHIL WOODS/Classic Albums Collection 1954-1961: Ever so much the daddio sax man, when Charlie Parker died, people rushed to name Woods Parker's successor. Woods went so far as to marry Parker's widow. Coming back and cleaning up at the Grammies after a requisite Euro sojourn, he played the same way until emphysema finally cut him down. With lots of essential, great daddio blowing on parade here, these 8 albums are still dandy ear openers and a real introduction to a real killer player of all time. Smoking wildly throughout.

BILL NELSON/Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights: This 1987 reissue sound s like master rock guitar slinger was thinking about ‘Game of Thrones" well before it was even a story board. A double disc of sword and sorcery and church that goes way deep into the matter, Nelson shows why he had to leave major labels to make the records he really wanted to make. Certainly as unmainstream as you can get and still be pro, this is a well conceived set for any one that wants to follow this path.

ANTHONY PHILLIPS/Invisible Men: A 1984 expanded version from the Genesis protogenitor, Phillips goes theatrical sounding ala Genesis, but he does it almost music hall style, ala Sgt. Pepper, with a load of individual touches along the way. A palette cleansing diversion that didn't stand a chance as a piece of prog pop in the detritus of the disco collapse, you can't blame a rebel for trying to go commercial when the bills need to be paid. Fun stuff and well worth a shot from any potential fans that missed this nearly 40 years ago.

STRAWBS/Ferryman's Curse: Even if they aren't recording as frequently as they used to, calling this Strawbs the best in years into that much of a stretch. Cousins and Lambert step up to fuse the past and future in a strange folk rock mix with religious overtones that sail way sideway. Really, lyrics about Googling Jesus' rusty nails? The title might be old timey but the material sure ain't. A mighty welcome return to form.

PEE WEE ELLIS/Tenoration: One thing Ellis does here is show that he is the master of the groove, indeed from jazz to funk and back as the subtitle says. Mostly a mix of originals and chestnuts with a nod to JB, this is wonderful stuff for when you need a beautiful cacophony to drown out the world around you with a cushion of smoking funk. Tasty? All the way. It's always a teat to get a new blast of this mighty wind passing through.

BOB HOLZ/Visions-Coast to Coast Connection: A vet jazzbo drummer is moved by how many friends he has lost recently and sets out to make a fusion/smooth jazz tribute to them with a raft of high powered jazzbo pals. The kind of pro throughout set that you can't say anything about except it's damn good, this right on set doesn't sound like a requiem, it sounds like an affirmation of life. Contemporary jazzbos will have a good time here.

BROAD CITY season 4: In season four we find the show maturing to the point that this is much more than a show about crazy millennial broads doing crazy things leading you to think you can give them somebody else's business card and say it's you because they won't remember anything in the morning anyway. Facing life with all it's absurdity head on, this is still a distaff show throughout, but we have to give the publicist behind it some for saying this is the perfect gift for ‘galentine's' day. Yes. This goes righteously with ice cream, wine and cell phones with shopping apps on the home page. Did I miss something or are these two ladies succeeding at doing their thing without having to call attention to it? Right on, viva la revolucion!

Volume 41/Number 98
February 6, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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