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LEONARD COHEN/Austin City Limits: Recorded in 1988 during Cohen's first comeback when he went electro with "I'm You Man", it makes you wonder how New West let this get away when they even put out a record of the Kinky Friedman show that never even aired. A valentine to "I'm You Man' fans since most of the album is represented here, this might be the first chance Cohen fans got to find out he had a sense of humor. There's no credits but that's got to be the late, great John Bilizekjian plucking the oud in the background at just the right times. Not exactly in line with ACL's organic métier, it's fun to hear the audience take a few beats before they realize it's ok to applaud.

VERY BE CAREFUL/Daisy's Beauty Salon: Recorded in a fully set up abandoned recording studio, this set is loaded with the kind of Latin mash up you see in movies where even the fat guy with the Italian beef sandwich gets up and grooves. A gringo especial, this Afro-Columbian and more sound is how parties in the back alleys get started. Fun stuff as hot as a Scotch bonnet, it might wear it's ethnicity as a badge of honor but it wants you to come to the party just the same. Smoking.

JONI MITCHELL/Transmission Impossible: With age and ill health taking their inevitable tolls, this three disc set of live FM broadcasts is probably the closest we'll come to hearing Mitchell live again. Collecting performances from various decades of her career starting with her arriving fully formed at Newport in 1969 armed with songs that would be on her albums several years in the future, skipping ahead to her tour to support the 80s ‘comeback‘ with "Wild Things Run Fast" and concluding with a career eye on tomorrow as she got more idiosyncratic in the 90s when she didn't have to kowtow to the record biz no more, this has got to be three of the most enjoyable hours any fan of great songwriting could imagine. Looking back, it's easy to see how we followed her almost anyplace she took us.

PAUL DESMOND/Complete Albums Collection 1953-1963: Don't know if it's the viscitudes of time or a reality/perception thing but considering Desmond wrote the biggest selling jazz single ever and was a pivotal figure in the rise of west coast cool jazz, he doesn't seem to have the respect a cat that could lead a bunch of jazz greats deserves. While he is forever aligned with Dave Brubeck, it was a tempestuous relationship which led the perennial poll winner to tear it up just as much with Gerry Mulligan. This set collects Fantasy, Verve and RCA sides in which he made it look so easy that hundreds of dinner music makers followed in his wake thinking they could match the master. A load of classic jazz that demands to be heard beyond the cult, pull up a chair and let Desmond and his sax take you to places you've only heard in dreams.

VERVE JAZZ ENSEMBLE/Connect the Dots: It's hard to say that a group that arrived so fully formed is now coming into it's own but how else can you describe a set in which a solid crew takes it to the next level of the game? Rounding out their core sound with various additions at various times, just take their original groove and imagine it expanded---maybe to the nth degree. Contemporary/modern jazzbos that never met a groove they didn't like (or couldn't play) serve up a career defining set full of playing that blows you away by not trying to blow you away. This is a display of chops what am. Killer stuff.

Number 41/Number 235
June 23, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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