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NPO TRIO/Live at the Stone: Three diverse jazz pals bring the jazz to Yiddish melodies, and this ain't noblemen set. Progressive jazz by those with the cops to make it more than noodling, this is classic Sunday afternoon recital music taken toothiest level of the game. Wild stuff for those looking for a new experience.

KEVIN DANIEL/Myself Through You: A solid Americana mash up that takes a mass of back porch sounds and ties them together with whip smart, hard hitting lyrics about the human condition. A modern take on the singer/songwriter as seeker, Daniel has a firm grasp on is destiny no matter how tenuous destiny may be. Check it out.

BEYOND THE NEIGHBORHOOD The music of Fred Rogers: Just like Vince Guaraldi brought jazz to the suburbs and kids, Kevin Bales and Keri Johnsrud jazz up a celebration of Mr. Rogers' tunes and do it in equally a delightful style. Kids can digest it, adults can enjoy it and modern nostalgia reigns brightly over all. Quite the unexpected treat.

FRANK WAGNER/Floating Holiday: A bass player that takes us beyond our wheelhouse, this bass ace took leave from his musical day job playing commercial music to take this road not traveled. Experimental stuff motivated by his non musical day job as an addiction specialist, it appears that this is music created to calm the savage beast? At times it feels like an egghead version of Lou Reed's sonic heroin and meth trips. Like I said, it's beyond our wheelhouse.

MEG OKURA/Ima Ima: Talk about an over achiever, a Japanese woman converts to Judaism. Knowing some of the top names in New York jazz circles and getting them to lend a hand (of course), this spirited, cinematic sized recording opens the ears as well as the eyes to a great musical vista that seems as limitless as it's potential. With the feel of a classical into jazz recording, but not really, this golden set of top shelf instrumental music will easily become a fave of yours. Well done. (To show her dedication to her new beliefs, this set even opens backwards---it's not you).

RUTH & EMILIA/The Spaceship that Fell in My Backyard: A kiddie cantata about intergalactic peace love and understanding that sounds like it should be an Andy Webber rock opera? How wild is this? This duo has the chops to back it all up and it's one of the wildest things we've heard in the kid's genre. The noise level alone should keep the rug rats quiet and in shocked awe and that alone makes it worth checking out.

THE TURBANS: This pan-Eurasia crew welcomes you to the modern opium den with traditional sounds that are amplified and leave plenty of room for belly dancers and pick pockets to roam freely through the hazy gloamin. Wild stuff that goes way beyond ethnic restaurant background music, their giddy mania transcends all language on the road to good times. Check it out.

ANDREW HADRO/For Us, The Living II: In which we look at the question of when is experimental not really experimental? Hadro honors the past and future of jazz through his own original lens and comes up with that crystal ball kind of date that feels like a recital. You don't have to be an egghead to want to take this thoughy diversion. At times it feel more like he's classic Leonard Bernstein than Monk. A nice way off the beaten path to open the ears.

JON PATRICK WALKER/You & I: One of the stars of Hamilton that has previously shown how he can make the jump from musical to music changes it up with a set that reverses course of his previous releases. Almost an atmospheric, folkie set, Walker goes for the lyrical goodness this time around and hit's the target handily. Might as well take another ride with him on another of his busman's holidays. Check it out.

Volume 41/Number 140
March 20, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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