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BIG SHOES/Step on It!: A bunch of Nashville white boys with contemporary lyriced blues show up to play and have a good time, making you nod in agreement and have a good time. Not a set to change the world, unless giving it a kick in the pants and making it smile is change, this gang likes time away from reality just as much as you do.

ADAM SHULMAN SEXTET/Full Tilt: C'mon gang, a piano man that can serve up originals that let his trumpeter bring on the post bop daddio like this was something recorded back in the day? What more could you want? Solid swinging throughout, this bunch needs to take their place with the classic line ups that have delivered the goods in the past. Certainly not a false note in the bunch, if such a thing could ever happen, this is almost too much of a good thing. Killer stuff throughout.

TYLER MIRE BIG BAND/#Office for the Day: In which we find the Texas Lab Band is still turning out stars of tomorrow at a great place as this cat, two years out of the program, turns in a smoking, swinging big band date that knows no boundaries or limits. A trumpeter out to change preconceptions, he hits to all fields and all of it comes together like that was the master plan. A sure fire party on a platter, keep your eye on this one, he's got it going on.

SAMEER GUPTA/A Circle Has No Beginning: An east meets west armchair traveler special as the cultural clash is easier than it was in years past when you were sure you were on a voyage. Almost like foreign food attenuated for gringos, this is easy to get into, taking you on a mash up jazz/world trip that makes it seem like you haven't left your launch pad at all. Or did you? Fun stuff for the world-beater fan that just doesn't want to feel like they've gone too far from home but wants a change of scene nonetheless. Well done.

NED HILL/Six Feet Above Ground: One of those Nashville singer/songwriters from the rough hewn side of town leaves his group years behind for this solo debut that comes along some 30 years down his road. Heavily lived in lyrics that aren't made for white bread, commercial consumption, he doesn't cut corners when it comes to proudly displaying his rough edges. A solid bet for those that like it kept real, this is grand trip down the back alleys of humanity as it goes about it's daily business.

JAMIE KALLESTAD/Songs from the North Country: Home grown folkie stuff inspired by northern Minnesota and Norway where sojourns both took place. Inspired by taking a trip to Kallestad, Norway so he could stand under the city limits town sign, the spirit of the 70s college coffeehouse is alive and well here. Music for mellow ears, this easy going set has got that sweet spot where it seems so familiar but is something so original-even when done within some well worn structures. Fun stuff that goes the distance.

HONEY WEST/Bad Old World: A cat that can make the jump from King Crimson to Foreigner is the kind of cat that has chops age doesn't dim as Ian McDonald proves here by the truck load. Sounding as much in the AOR pocket as ever, this crew wakes up dormant rock genes with it's take no prisoners approach and non stop rocking. Everyone on here has chops to spare and it all comes out in the mix. Killer rock the way it's supposed to be.

GHALIA & Mama's Boys/Let the Demons Out: A gal from Bruges that learned her craft busking in the street finds her way to Nawlins to find a crew that smokes as hard as she does. The result is a while girl with the blues that sounds like she knows the hellhounds are on her tail. A killer wild, rocked up ride, this non stop thrill ride doesn't play by the rules because it doesn't really know them, a reminder of why you should be wary of the 10th best swordsman in all of France. This smoking debut ought to move right to the top of your list.

VIENNA PHILHARMONIC/New Year's Concert 2018: Well, if you couldn't be there and you couldn't catch it on PBS, this double disc set of the annual event, this time helmed by Ricardo Muti, is the next best thing to being there. A wondrous extravaganza performed by pros that know they have to shine, the war horse classical fan will once again find their ears are in good hands as this program goes forth. Well plotted down to the last note, this is the kind of show that separates the top shelf from all else. Killer stuff that's not only a gas but will bring new ears into the tent. A stellar effort, as always.

TAMUZ NISSIM/Echo of a Heartbeat: C'mon, you know how much you like those jazzy thrushes with a foreign sound, a little girlish voice and fury of swing in their delivery. Nissim, aided by some New York knowledgeable jazzbos kicks it off in fine form bringing the jazz even to Jim Croce. Sneaking in a few of her own originals, this is a tasty find in the new talent rack as this charmer pulls out all the stops. Solid stuff sure to provide a good time for all.

Volume 41/Number 99
February 7, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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