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MELBREEZE/Animazonia: Pomo Jobim? This Turk with an affinity for Brazil turns it all on it's head with some smooth jazz pros that are obviously savoring the opportunity to take it to the next level of the game in an appreciative atmosphere. Not Brazil for moldy figs, this is world beat delving into the future of world beat. A crazy trip that's well worth taking.
(Blue Canoe 1378)

JAMES AUSTIN JR./Songs in the Key of Wonder: Ah, chops, that's what makes the difference between this and a gift shop record. A well traveled Chicago piano man rounds up some other Chicago pals, that just happened to be sidekicks of Sonny Rollins, and let's fly on a jazzy reworking of Stevie Wonder classics where he really finds the jazz in the tracks. On the money throughout, it might be time to let Mr. Morris take his place in American song next to Gershwin et al.

PETER LIN The Lintet/With Respect: A bone man with cross cultural bloodlines running through him merges it all together in a solid, mainstream set that honors all the traditions that got him here. A long overdue set for him as a leader, ears are going to perk up as he and his crew do their thing in a most delightful fashion.

NATE NAJAR/Under Paris Skies: An acoustic guitar trio takes it slow on this trip through songs by and about France. A tasty, café flavored set that evokes wandering minstrels serenading by as you sip your coffee. Understated but not to be under rated, this is a treat you'd almost have to wait for Putumayo to come out with to partake. Well done.
(Woodward Avenue 1806)

SAM RUCKER/Redemption: A happy album coming from a happier place for the sax man, he proceeds to blow up a joyful storm of smooth jazz that shows how much better up is than down. Easy going without being easy listening, there's lots here to sink your teeth into as this is music that touches the heart as well as the ears. Well done.

Number 41/Number 266
July 24, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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