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RONI BEN HUR-HARVIE S/Introspection: Take a couple of cats with super chops that sometimes seem like they are the last of the real musicians, let them think about their set list for a year and add a drummer that knows just how much color to add and the result is a smoking date throughout. Repositioning a bunch of chestnuts for jazz guitar trio that have pretty much never been presented in that light, this is one of those deceptive sets that makes you think it's just pretty cocktail jazz until the light bulb goes off in an a-ha moment. The kind of playing only an indie label knows how to recognize and deliver these days, this is a treat with no fat or calories that you just can't deny yourself. Hot stuff from cool cats that make it look too easy.

RICHARD SHULMAN GROUP/Turned into Lemonade: Either we fell off his mailing list for a long while or this is a welcome blast from the past. Shulman says this is his fourth album with the group, but we're too lazy to look up whether that means his fourth album over all or not. Whatever. In any case, this piano jazzbo is still right in the moment with a set that's easy going without being smooth or new age-ish. Once again taking it to those deep places that your high minded piano jazzbos like to go, this can be enjoyed without you having to have egghead tendencies. A welcome respite from the noise of the day, this is solid stuff from a pro whose name should be on a lot more lips. Well done.

DIALI CISSOKHO & KAIRA BA/Routes: This is one of those indigenous records that you don't have to be pretentious to love. A Senegalese kora master winds up moving from Africa to North Carolina and finding some armchair travelers with axes and open ears and minds. A new kind of diaspora is born. With both ends mixing it up in fine style as they head back to Africa to record, tradition meets the future meeting cross cultural currents. The result: African music you don't have to do anything but sit back and enjoy. Dance, tap your toe, let it wash over you---it's all good. It's international fun without having to apply for a passport or take a long, uncomfy flight. Solid work the left leaning and open eared will love.

Volume 41/Number 197
May 16, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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