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DAVID VEST: Take a southern boy that's done it all. Move him to Canada. Let him do his thing. Give him a bunch of awards. Let him do whatever he wants. He knows how to get it done. A rollicking southern soul album that could even teach Tony Joe White a thing or two, this old master is playing with a young heart that has the strength of ten. This set is a classic you won't be able to wait to turn your friends on to. Killer stuff throughout.

BROWNOUT/Fear of a Brown Planet: Latin funk renditions of Public Enemy? Get in your low rider and dig it. The octane is high and the fire is burning bright which will easily add up to making this another of the label's left field best sellers. The anger, angst and aggression is all well represented and the power and fury make it all drop in most righteous fashion. Killer stuff.

KUWAISIANA/Chapter 1: Is this a college kid special or what? A multi culti mash up with Arabian vocals. The music is a stone cold groove. Who knows what they are singing about. It won't matter in college dorms where being quirky is a merit badge. Arabic without being belly dance music, this is international pop that'll be fun to see if it goes pop or goes flat. Well worth checking.

NEW ENGLAND JAZZ ENSEMBLE/Peter & the Wolf: With a little help from their friends (Kickstarter), this crew gives "Peter & the Wolf' it's first new recording in 50 years, and this time around the classical vibe is over thrown for jazz and Giacomo Gates as the narrator. A wonderful retelling for a new generation, this bunch has shown their chops in the past to fine effect and they don't slack off here. Rounding the set out with some extra jazz, this set isn't just for kids. Well done throughout.

SYLVIA BENNETT/I Wish You Love: It takes chops to make a record like this and not make it corny. Top heavy with chestnuts that others have left their stamp on, Bennett gives them more than CPR making them all her own in an upbeat, delightful fashion. Roping in some front line jazzbos as well to give it an easy, contemporary stamp, this is the kind of jazz vocal album that scores points with hard core fans and dazzles the young cocktail crowd. A tasty, winning work throughout, Bennett hits the target again.

JIM McNEELY/Barefoot Dances and Other Visions: With the Frankfurt Radio Big Band at his side, McNeely's big band visions with a progressive edge are given full tilt in the right direction. A singular kind of angular, muscular jazz gets melded with a fastball down the middle, sitting down jazz gets a new high water mark here. Solidly pro stuff that tough to beat.

RONDI MARSH/Pink Room: A dandy jazz vocal date with a corner where cabaret and Toots Thielemanns meet up. The backing crew is loaded with instrumental up and comers that have been making their marks and the whole package is a nicely distinct set that stands up well. Put it on your play list.

TIM MAHONEY/Stripped Honest Remakes and Other Stuff: Long time Twin City rocker finally gets to make the covers album he's always wanted to make. It's a very personal set that comes across like a valentine to the hard core fan.

THE PROMISE IS HOPE/Every Seed Must Die: A contemporary New England folk duo, they've been through some recent rough patches. Reducing the misery to song, they've come up with the classic college coffeehouse folk album. Down mouth without being shoe gaze, it does offer hope the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an on coming train.

SHIRLEY DAVIS & the Silverbacks/Wishes & Wants: Bringing a Brit caste to funk and soul, this dazzling vocalist lights up the night with some incandescence. Modern smoking soul, it's hard for any funky fan to pass this set by . This is the place to catch a rising star.

Volume 41/Number 171
April 20, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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