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ARKANSAS DAVE/Recorded in Muscle Shoals with the modern edition of the Swampers, he looks more like an acolyte of Hank Jr than a folkie playing at Folk Alliance, and he sounds like a folkie---on crystal. Loud and proud, this is sound of the Walmart parking lots in heavy duty rebellion. Very much feeling like an under the radar hard rocking winner, this is how it sounds deep in flyover country.

BOB HOLROYD/The Cage; A sound scaper whose work is no stranger to fans of HBO shows as well as top flight musos, he brings his sense of discovery to new heights as he explores realms within and without. Head music for those who miss the old days or missed out on them altogether, these sonic soundscapes are not the touchy feely stuff that the genre is all to often associated with. Hot chops lead the way keeping you in good hands throughout.

JIM PEARCE/Piano Story: Putting his vast soundtrack and jazz work in the rear view mirror for a hot second, keyboard ace Pearce dips his toe in the new age/neo classical pond to see how it feels. It sounds like it feels fine. Heading out to make a feel good album without other agenda, he has hit the target and succeeded in his tasks. Pretty much a set any mainstream instrumental music fan can enjoy, it's almost as if he took a busman's holiday to clear the palette and explore some nice scenic side trips. Well done.

SCOTT REEVES JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Without a Trace: Reeves makes his mark early with the opening track giving "Speak Low" a Latin edge that let's you know he rounded up the gang for some hot playing and creative moves. Whether original or cover, leading or playing, Reeves is the man with the plan. Tasty, straight up jazz by a crew that loves to play it right and tight, this is a killer date throughout that never met a false note. A desert with no empty calories, this is a must to lodge on the device of your choice. Hot stuff.

PERIPHERAL VISION/More Songs About Error and Shame: Left leaning, progressive modern Canadian jazzbos come back with their fourth set showing them continuing in their forward thinking, Juno nominated ways. A top shelf sitting down listening date, they know how to turn up the heat, even when trying to keep it cool, and let the gas run on high. Solid stuff for those looking for thinking man's jazz.

PABLO ZIEGLER/Solo: Often stated but not often executed, this solo piano set is well recorded and so direct that it sounds like Ziegler is playing just for you---in real time. The protean, recent Grammy winner cuts to the heart of why his orchestral and group works all work so well. A stellar, sitting down piano recital in which he recrafts a bunch of his own classics, and of course Piazzolla's, this is as good as it gets and should be heard by all no matter how they feel about tango, instrumental and other musical types that might not be on their normal radar. Killer stuff throughout.

ZUILL BAILEY/Haydn Cello Concerts: The cello playing former sidekick of pianist Simone Dinnerstein lands on a label known for promoting piano works, front and center with an orchestra in tow. Giving new breath to warhorse repertoire, Bailey has the touch showing he can leave contemporary works behind and ply his trade like a master on the golden classical oldies. A great Sunday afternoon set, this is classy classic work that demands to be played in the foreground with rapt attention paid as it's due. Hot stuff that can bring new fans into the tent as well.

VINNY RANIOLO/Air Guitar: A high flying member of the new breed of jazz guitarists, with just his bass sidekick, Raniolo plays up a storm on songs about air and flying. Simple, elegant and smoking throughout, give this lad the props he has coming and enjoy this on as often as needed when a respite from noise and clutter is in order.

GUITAR JACK WARGO/Keepin' it Real: A white boy with the blues and a resume and Outlook list of people and places that would make you jealous, he turns up the after hours heat sounding like a world wizened journeyman that lives electric blues through endless blue lights and smoke. Hard core stuff for hard core ears, this is the real deal stuff those with bloodshot eyes have been looking for. Killer stuff.

LOGAN MAGNESS/Memphis on My Mind: The message here seems to be that if you are a real Americana cat, five years in San Francisco is enough to make you high tail it home to Memphis to get some barbeque, take allergy pills and enjoy the midcountry soulfulness it has to offer. An amiable folk rocker, Magness rollicks his way onto your play list with simple, from the heart songs that speak volumes.

Volume 41/Number 122
March 2, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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