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CHARLIE APICELLA & Iron City/Sparks: Youngsters riding the old skool tip, this guitarist led organ trio captures the funk of an era gone by but makes it readily acceptable to contemporary ears. Keepers of the groove, they know how to rough up smooth jazz and roil a quiet storm taking it to back in the day when a tight groove really meant something. Hot stuff that never fails to keep cooking. Delightful.

DAVE NELSON/32nd Street: Seattle jazzbo trumpet hitter ventures to Brooklyn to record and expand his reputation beyond those that read the small print. Billed as easy listening jazz, the line has been so blurred in the last 20 years that this is what we refer to as first class club/lounge jazz where he's playing with old skool soul powered by a set of lungs that still has quite a few Miles left to go in them. If you like it straight ahead and right down the middle, this isn't going to break any new ground for you, it's simply there for you to enjoy and groove to. Tasty throughout.

DENISE LaGRASSA/April Dreams: What becomes of the tyro that keeps at it? In the case of LaGrassa, the precocious five year old that sold songs from door to door, the results of adulthood are gratifying. With wide ranging sensibilities that start out from a jazz base, she knows how to keep her all original set on track no matter how she spices the twists and turns. A personal and personable set, LaGrassa is clearly a singer/writer to keep an ear on because it seems like a good bet to think she just won't let you down.

KAT PARRA/Dos Amantes: The single mom lets her kids finish college before she ditches the corporate life to explore the music of her soul and comes in with an effort that lands somewhere between belly dance, Jew jazz and Kol Nidre as this set of Sephardic music dates back to Columbus letting a bunch of Jews hitch a ride to escape the Inquisition but is existing firmly in the present in this presentation. The kind of exceptional music that needs to be hand sold, Parra weaves the wonderful kind of magic you're looking for when you want to go beyond the pale. Hot stuff that goes beyond being a genre record.

EMPIRICAL/Out n' In: A bunch of young Brits that sound like they came fully formed right out of the civil rights jazz era, they honk and skronk and play with a passion that's got nothing to do with Obama's ascension, they just seem to like New York basement jazz from the 60s. Inspired by Eric Dolphy, they make his vibe more accessible and let the good times roll. Almost like controlled anarchy, Empirical delivers the goods mightily and you don't have to be a malcontent to enjoy it. The mix and mastering even feel like they came from the 60s.

ANANDO/Healing the Heart (2910); Healing the Inner Child (2911); Sleep Deep (2912): Hey kids, it's 2010 and it's alright to admit we're all walking wounding, a nation and generation of damaged mooks. This lawyer drop out that's taken a spin around India for the last 30 odd years distills her wisdom and outlook into these three cds that are each targeted toward trying to repair the damage of the walking wounded. "Healing the Heart" is obvious, especially for all the smarter than thou hot 20 somethings that sit around Saturday night with a quart of ice cream wondering why their married guy won't call. "Healing the Inner Child" is also obvious since everything we needed to know we learned in kindergarten---make fun of who ever is different; push the little kids down and take their toys---time to clean that mess up and move on. "Sleep Deep" is also obvious since we now see that sleep can cure everything for diabetes to paranoia. Hey, it's cheaper than one session with a shrink if you buy all three at full price and less calories than cookie dough. You wanna keep being a screw up or you want to try something inexpensive and non-invasive that just might help you find the path to take the right first step? Maybe you need some chicken soup for the mind.

TERRY OLDFIELD/Across the Universe: Just as much Beatles as it is Jack deJohnette and Oldfield himself, this is a groovy new age set that mixes a little Celtica with some laid back Cirque du Soleil and a host of other elements the suburban yuppie single mom gets into when she's feeling offbeat and unconventional. A dandy sonic getaway, Oldfield is a great and trusted sonic tour guide that gets you from hear to there effectively but lets you stop and smell the roses as well as enjoy the sonic scenery along the way. Another winner from the master.

RG ROYAL SOUND ORCHESTRA/Impact: There are so many ways you can take or not take this record! Suppose Herb Alpert's grandson wanted to go into the family business. You bet he'd be doing Tijuana Brass versions of Eagles. Sinatra, Beatles, Elvis, Dean Martin, Eagles and stage mates KC & the Sunshine Band all tossed into that Jules Wechter mixmaster for a single serve outing that's for fun for grandpa, pomo punks and yuppies having the gang over. This set cuts across lines in purely magical ways that so many others try for and don't get. It's a complete gasser. It's totally groovy. It's something you ought to scoot over to www.dustygroove.com and see if they can get it for you. Do not make the mistake of confusing this with vacation music or sound alike knock offs. This is a genuine party on a platter and the chops are well done!

Volume 33/Number 648
January 4, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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