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SIMON PILBROW with the Brent Fischer Orchestra/Colours of Sound: The big band orchestra is loaded with jazz greats supporting these two pals who never met until the Internet was in full flower. With nothing but high spots on their resumes, the two combine in a beautiful way that makes killer, swinging jazz that continues to make poppa Clare proud of young(ish) Brent. A jazz lovers special, this high water mark recording is loaded with killer moves that keep your ears on the move. Well done throughout.

THOR/Electric Eyes: The funny thing about this previously unreleased 1979 set from the vet metal head is that this sounds like his most mainstream friendly record. More Lou Reed than the glam metal he was later to be known for, he should have stayed the course because this is what suburban metal heads clamored for. Better late than never.

PATRICK DARRAH/Northern Truth: 70s AOR reborn as indie country from a New England cat bitten by both bugs and having a strong populist sense of what's going on around him. Easily the sound of Walmart parking lots that used to be corn fields, the heartland is the heartland and Darrah has the smarts on how to cut to heart of it---no matter how wonderful pundits tell you things are. This stuff really cuts to the chase.

ELEANOR DUBINSKY/Soft Spot of My Heart: So who ever talks about New York/Portugal mash ups? The heart wants what it wants and Dubinsky's heart wants some Portugal in it. Jazz takes a new tangent as this vocalist with touchy feely lyrics points the armchair traveler in a new direction. Fun stuff that passes the time in breezy fashion with style.

PATRICK COMAN/Tree of Life: Murky folk gothic stuff that's a sure bet for those who don't like to see the brighter side of things. Down mouthed as it can be, this is almost pretty spooky stuff.

HEAVYWEIGHT BRASS BAND/This City: Canadians inspired by Nawlins bring the heat to the north where hot party time is always welcome. The kind of set that can turn every place into French Quarter, this set'll even bring zombies to life. Hot, hard and heavy, this is how you make a party on a platter.

MICA BETHEA BIG BAND/Suite theory: There's nothing like getting creamed by a big rig truck to make you appreciate life if you survive it. Bethea survived one and comes back with joyful big band sounds that swing with deliberation and verve. Not letting anything hold him back, he's freeing his mind and his ass is sure to follow. Top shelf all the way.

MUD MORGANFIELD/They Call Me Mud: Muddy's scion hit it out of the park right from the start but this fourth outing in the company of the crème of Chicago current blues crop hits it out of the park and into the next county. Letting his blood lines proudly show while still remaining his own man, this is straight up modern blues like the kind you really don't hear much anymore but loaded with what you came for. Killer stuff.

CHIP TAYLOR/Fix Your Words: A wizened voice delivering world wise lyrics makes this more than a seminal sounding Americana set that beholds high praise. Speaking from the heart to the heart, this is the sound of a cat at it for over 60 years that's still looking forward, no matter what classics he's already delivered. Killer stuff for those who hold lyrics high.

AKIRA TANA/Jazzanova: One of those records where all you can say is "fugetaboudit!", the master drummer rounds up some like minded Brazilians and Brazilian lovers for an old school flavored set that is full of low key fire and sunshine good vibes for all as it works it's way through a set of classics by the masters. It might be your father's kind of Brazilian record, but there once was a show called "Father Knows Best". Tasty stuff that hits it out of the park with each trip to the plate.

Volume 41/Number 108
February 16, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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