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BETH WHITNEY/Wild Unrest: You thought only Leonard Cohen had what it took to make you want to kill yourself after giving his early stuff a listen? The mantle has been passed. Music that claims to have come out of healing, you got to wonder what wounds she was suffering. As down mouth as it gets.

MIKE JONES-PENN JILLETTE/The Show Before the Show: After getting stiffed on a job he moved to Vegas for, Jones got lucky in hooking up with Penn & Teller who knew his piano talents right away and put them to good use. After making several really sweet jazz piano sets over the last few years, here we find him dueting with the boss on bass and it appears Penn has a few other talents up his magician's sleeve as well. Kicking it out on chestnuts and giving them new life, this is as good as lounge jazz gets. Tasty stuff throughout, the sound of a master at work sets the bar once again. A winner.

SAMMY DAVIS JR/Marty Paich Sessions: Back when Sammela and Tony Newley were building a mown tain, only hipsters credited the fact that the wham of Sam was being provided in the background by Marty Paich's orchestrations and arranging. Culled from the 4 Reprise albums where the Davis/Paich collaboration when even deeper than Davis/Newley, this double set is a monster high that reminds just how talented all involved were. People might forget that this was once among the epitome of hipster cool, this is a great way to bring those memories back. Killer stuff that's sure to live forever.

BRAINTICKET/Zurich-Lausanne; Kraftwerk may have already brought prog/synth/Krautrock to the masses, but there were still plenty of other crews out there riding the malcontent range as this twofer of unreleased concerts by these krautrock pioneers show in all their shimmering electronic glory. Somewhere between minimalist and EDM, this set exists in it's own time zone, and it is a blast from another time zone of almost 40 years ago. Wild stuff for the true believers and uber hipsters.

DAMO SUZUKI & JELLY PLANET; The former lead vocalist of Can got coaxed out of retirement by this bunch of young believers and the result is an improvised in the studio set of prog that goes all over the place. If only Lee Groban could have lived to see this. The kind of stuff Mike Myers' "Dieter" character would have brought to the masses, this is the right stuff for electro/improv fans that know their art when they hear it.

BILL WARFIELD BIG BAND/ For Lew: A special kind of greatest hits set in that Warfield collected tracks from the last 25 years of recording in which his mentor, Lew Soloff, played with him. A killer distillation of killer jazz by a herd of pros, it's a fitting tribute to all involved over the years as well as a honor to the master, Soloff. A guy that really played everything with everyone over a massive career, Soloff is smiling down of this collection. Killer stuff throughout.

AFRICAN CAFÉ/various: Reaching successfully into their international bag of tricks once again and pulling out nothing but winners, this collection of names that tunes that will probably be unfamiliar to you in the main does what it sets out to and more. Laid back without being chill or down tempo, this evokes strolling musicians in African cafes that probably don't exist but come across here as the real thing. The armchair travelers best friend, Putumayo gives you a taste of Africa that others miss. Tasty stuff throughout.

VICTOR WAINWRIGHT & the Train: The relentless boogie bear changes it up with some relentless rocking in the mix and the kind of high energy that can only be describes as that of a runaway train. Smokingly in touch with his show band side, this righteous, raucous rollicking set is just what the doctor ordered for jaded ears that need a mash up with energy to spare. Hot diggity hot stuff throughout.

GUS SPENOS/It's Lovin' I Guarantee: You like it when an album like this succeeds. Recorded by a Indianapolis brain doctor with a jones for jump blues, he packed his sax and checkbook off to Jersey where he could show us the connection between music and math all the while kicking it out like a journeyman you find by accident and wonder where he's been hiding, this timeless look at an era is delivered with grooving passion and good vibes for all. A smoking date that's not to be missed, it might even turn you back to the real thing. A winner throughout.

DEBORAH SWINEY/I Remember Rio: Memphis as you never heard it. Sure Swiney knows her Stax and Hi stuff, but this jazz vocalist hits it out of the park with a Brazilian set recorded in Memphis with locals on board. A tasty vocal outing that hits all the right notes, this is a real treat for those who like their samba with a new kind of sway to it. A can't miss set you don't have to be an armchair traveler to love.

Volume 41/Number 109
February 17, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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