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OWEN BRODER/Heritage-The American Roots Project: In which we find roots music making a glorious left turn into uncharted territory with killer results. Essentially a bunch of first call jazzbos bring the jazz to the back 40 with results so organic you almost want to shop at Whole Foods. Yeah, we know it's been done by everyone one way or another since Aaron Copland, but when you get unique results like this, you stop and pay attention. It ain't country, it ain't jazz but it's the greatest road trip you can take without leaving the house. Killer stuff throughout by pros who came to play.

ROBERTA DONNAY & the Prohibition Mob Band/My Heart Belongs to Satchmo: Going off on her own since Dan Hicks passed, she evokes all the eras of the past that have touched her and does it without nostalgia or self consciousness. Doing it with real love for what it is and imbuing it with her passion, this full length tribute to Louie Armstrong has got to have Satch smiling down on it. Evoking the jazz age like it's happening in real time, the velvet vocals, the crack backing crew and the entire vibe is a big, fat home run. You don't have to like oldies to love this, it's real music for real ears.

E.J. DECKER/Bluer than Velvet-The Prysock Project: A white boy who's father replaced Sinatra in the Dorsey band found out that those classy, black baritone vocalists had something going on. After hearing Arthur Prysock bring the class, the die was cast. Hitting it out of the park here in the classiest of ways, Decker isn't aping Prysock so much as he is following in his footsteps. One of the class acts of the past, this is smoking way to make sure he's not forgotten.

DARSHAN/Raza: Kaballah comes back as Jewish mash up rap that let's the Hassids get some. It ain't klez or Eddie Cantor and it sounds like a sure bet for radical sects that want to cruise closer to the mainstream.

LOS RUMBEROS DE LA BAHIA/Mabagwe: When Bart Simpson commands ‘let's mambo' he isn't thinking about indigenous, back alley stuff like this. And the funny thing is, most of these numbers are original, modern numbers paying tribute to the masters you probably never heard of. The sound of the streets that originally could be made anywhere, this is sound of Cuba when it dances in the face of oppression. It might be too low key to get your party started but there's a world beyond the tip of your nose. Stand by for a real ear opener.

MARK MURPHY/Pocketful of Rainbows: In the tradition of the cat with the same name, this Murphy rounds up a crew of all your fave contemporary jazzbos and lets them wail appropriately as he croons his way through his slice of the modern, great American songbook. New takes on Dylan, Hank and more, this is a sweet, atmospheric album that is one of those that starts out in the background but soon takes over center stage. Solid stuff that hit's the target.

GALVAO SANTIAGO LANDAIS ENOUF/2x2: When is euro jazz not Euro jazz? When two Brazilians meet up with two Frenchies in an odd ball circumstance that affords them with a chance to let it all hang out across the borders. A smokingly solid little date that has the angular Euro stuff and the breezy Brazilian stuff, frequently facing often in the same staff, it's a mash up these pros know how to deliver. Sitting down jazz of the highest order, you don't have to be an egghead or a snob to love it.

HAL GALPER QUARTET/Cubist: How do you make this trio better? Add Jerry Bergonzi and record them live and in the moment. You think it's going to be sitting down jazz but once the percolator starts perking, you just can't turn it off. A tease and a surprise, this is jazz that engages you and keeps you on board to hear what's coming next. Pros that deliver the goods, this is the hot stuff you are seeking that doesn't play fair and doesn't play by the rules.

ROCH LOCKYER/When Frank Met Django: A breezy, young guitar man with an appreciation for the finer, trend setting things that have come before, crafts a set of what would have happened if Sinatra had Reinhardt back him up. The familiar becomes something new and hella works. Frank & the Hot Club? Who's to say how it really would have come out but this is a solidly sweet set tailor made for the jazzbo that wants to hear some real deal. Fun stuff that'll charm your ears and make you smile.

NOSHIR MODY/Burgeoning Consciousness: Originally an ethno fusion guitarist, Mody now goes for lengthy, soundscape jazz that's hard to pigeon hole but easy to like. Skillfully crafting this new outing, Mody doesn't let things ride off the rails but he doesn't make drippy, gift shop music either. He finds the sweet spot where real muso ears will appreciate his guitar excursions. A tasty outing throughout, it certainly sates the need for something out of the ordinary but not to way out.

Volume 41/Number 105
February 13, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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