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ERICA LINDSAY-SUMI TONOOKA/Initiation: Anyone who got their first taste of jazz from Charlie Brown specials will easily fall under the spell of this swinging but moving, easy, straight ahead set powered by a pair of ladies that have been playing together for a long while but have never recorded together before. Piano and sax aces that can hold their own with any of the big boys, they simply speak the universal language of music and don't waste time drawing lines around things. A welcome solid and straight ahead set that jaded ears will hold tight to. A winner throughout.

THE SOJOURNERS: The black gents of this trio have been singing for over 50 years but only together for the last few after meeting by accident doing a back up session. It's a gospel session but it doesn't sound like anything you ever heard on Duke or Malaco, it sounds more like the kind of roots session you wish some of the boring farts in the genre would apply their talents to making. If there's something atavistic about this you can't put your finger on, it's this. Remember those movies from the 30s when the movie moguls hadn't codified the language of film yet and they were trying to be all things to all people? These guys sound like the black singing group that would pop up in a Marx Bros. movie for no reason and do a number to cleanse your palette while the Marx's set the scene for their next round of schtick. This record is a great find and you'll probably like it even more if you aren't a gospel fan since you won't be bringing a moldy fig sensibility to the proceeding. That, and it sounds like Maria Muldaur/Bonnie Raitt gospel. We dig it and you will too.

MOTION TURNS IT ON/Kaleidoscopic Equinox: Yeah, we know, industrial was your older brother's music, Miles is for grown ups, except when he was in his annoying elephant funk stage and what's left for you? How about this trip through Frank Zappa's jazz hell as filtered through "Metal Machine Music"? Your parents will be convinced this is music to meth by since they know what they were listening to when they were speeding 30 years ago. And even though they have ‘vocals' this time out, you don't have to hear how shitty things are in Manchester. So, tote your older brother's industrial records down to the resale shop before files make them obsolete and invest your pocket change into the nu industrial scene made just for you.

GABRIEL JOHNSON/Fractured: Trumpet player that's been Clint Eastwood's first call for soundtracks veers off the road of commercial success to hang with some like minded malcontents that visit the mainstream often with a visitors pass but generally go their own way. Egg head deconstructionism for people that like music that makes a statement, this is a dark tunnel to somewhere that might lead no where but you can certainly hear this turning up as the underscore in a crack house scene in a mainstream movie. Wild stuff for background music to chemical explorations.

JOHN JORGENSON QUINTET/One Stolen Night: For a guy that spent a long time perfecting his neon tan in Nashville studios, Jorgenson's passion for gypsy jazz has really taken on a life of it's own. Right from the git, his originals sound like something you heard the original Hot Club play--but baby, they ain't. The Django vibe seems grafted so deeply onto his DNA that you can't call this derivative or anything else that takes away from the power and purity of the playing and writing. A luscious change of pace for people that love massive chops that are understated in their presentation, this is a top shelf adult listening date that will simply blow you away. Acolytes, the line forms to the left.

MORT WEISS/Raising the Bar: In which we find this jazzbo hitting it interestingly on so many levels. The 75 year old is assuming this to be his last recording and that he only has 3 good years of playing left in him so he issues forth with a solo clarinet recording. Anything other than solo piano or solo guitar can get to be a dicey proposition but the heart on parade here dispels any doubts about the veracity of what he has in mind. Working out on a bunch of classics, the familiarity of the songs might be the magic key in why this works. It might not be for everyone, but the one man show aspect of this where it's a simple, straight forward communication between his lips and your ears will really touch those looking for a soulful experience. Deceptively simple and impossible to ignore.

SAMBADA/Gente!: Genre buster time as Brazil gets transplanted to Santa Cruz, soaks up a different kind of sunshine and comes out with party music that will remind the average gringo of alt.Jamaica circa 20 years ago (think Jam Band) as the 200 mph skank revs on. Simply a first class beach party on a platter that's got to be a magnet for bikini babes. Bet it's more fun than you've had in a while. Check it out.

JOHN STEIN/Raising the Roof: It seems like were always a sucker for a jazzbo with a day job as a teacher that doesn't play like it. This guitar man teaches at Berklee but he's embracing Montgomery's vibe a lot harder than someone worrying about the tenure track. Solidly swinging set with the crew that backed him up last time in tow again, this is a hot jazz guitar date with a lot of familiar tracks, but thankfully, you haven't heard them like this before. Another fine example of why you shouldn't be a snob and look down your nose at something that's proudly mainstream. This baby cooks.

Volume 33/Number 76
January 16, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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