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08/21/18




LINDA CLIFFORD/If My Friends Could See Me Now: Clifford's second album was the beginning of the last gasp for the mighty Curtom label as it made the bridge from civil rights soul to Philly flavored silky disco soul. A hard hitting set that really let Clifford wail, the vet made the most of her break through with extended tracks on a diverse set of tunes that really came together as a smoking whole. Augmented with bonus mixes of key tracks, you can hear how close the Chicago bunch came to harvesting her chops into coming close to being Chicago's own Donna Summer. The return of a wonderful, career defining set, this'll roll the clock back 40 years for everyone that danced the night away to this raver. And of those who weren't there, it's the next best thing.
(Blixa Sounds 810)

LINDA CLIFFORD/Let Me Be Your Woman: 1979, the year disco collapsed and hippies had firmly become yuppies. Either you were a newly minted stockbroker dancing the coked out night away to this or you were a gay, underground partier whirling the night away to this. This record was the mirror image to Steve Dahl's disco demolition night as a uniter, right here in Chicago. With a smoking version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" that packed as much punch as Aretha's, this set showed that Chicago could hold it's own against the disco capitol with a set the could match others step for step. A fine sum total of a life time of chops in waiting.
(Blixa Sounds 812)

LINDA CLIFFORD/Here's My Love: Not exactly a full on Philly flavored release as there's some Euro production and Curtis Mayfield dipping his toe in the water as well, Curtom had switched distributors and I'm sure label people showed up the sessions with notes. None of that had any effect on Clifford who showed up with a nice, solid mature release. Slowing things down to give the set a timeless flavor, this isn't quite a late night groove session but it's a nice late evening set that sets the mood. Solid vocal work that works throughout.
(Blixa Sounds 811)

LINDA CLIFFORD/I'm Yours: Coming at pretty much the end of Curtom's major label years and Curtom's glory years, the reins have been turned over to Isaac Hayes who recorded everything except the vocals in Atlanta and didn't lay a hand on the "Fame" track as well, keeping that Chicago. Showing how he still had his hand on his post "Shaft" grooves, this is a nice R&B meeting of the minds where each made the other look good. A much better set than something that could have easily wound up unloved at it's label should be, this was disco/soul's last real shot before house came along turning it loose and turning it out.
(Blixa Sounds 813)

GREG DIAZ & the Art of Imagination Jazz Orchestra/Begin the Agora: A sax man with big band chops, Diaz is on the money throughout here leading his crew through an up to date sound that gives his chops a chance to shine on originals and others. Sounding like a soundtrack for the up market part of the city, this clever, classy date is just what you need for those times you want to bounce along in your chair. Solid work throughout that really opens the ears nicely.

MARK HUMMEL/Harpbreaker: One of those legendary cats that's been showing how harmonica is a real instrument for the last half century takes a minute to air out some stuff you might have missed along the way. With a mix of tracks old, new and unreleased that put the harp front and center without vocals, of course the accent is on blues---but it's the rollicking kind. A high octane collection from one of the modern masters that authentically rubbed elbows with the greats, this is a first class, smoking set that delivers.
(Electro Fi 3456)

MICK KOLASSA & the Taylor Made Blues Band/149 Delta Avenue: Once again the good timing blues rocking grandpa is doing good by doing well as the proceeds of this set go to two Blues Foundations charities. To make sure they get the maximum bucks, he's raves it up rocking out his blues in party all night fashion. Returning to what he calls his music, even if they aren't all originals, he makes them all his own. A rollicking good time that shows you how to put a party on a platter.
(Endless Blues 62018)

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 12TET/When the Day Slips Into Night: You gotta love these college kids these days. This bunch from Toronto stands up well against anything coming from Texas or Indianapolis and lets you know the kids are alright---as least as far as big band playing goes. A tasty and dazzling set, they keep a modern edge percolating in the traditional sound giving you a real treat. Well done.
(U of T Jazz)

APPALATIN/Vida: Bluegrass meets Latin? Why not? A delightful mash up of a sort, the end result is pretty much a cross pollination that sounds mostly Latin but a winning combination throughout. A backyard party record that even white guys can do the white guy dance to and not care what anyone thinks, a gasser is a gasser and that's what this one is. Find out why they won't be bubbling under much longer.

MIGUEL ZENON/Yo Soy la Tradicion: And some people earn their genius grants. Using his to further art as well as his art, Zenon takes a dive into crafting nu Puerto Rican classical music that is just a mind blower for all serious listeners. Fusing jazz and classical chops into a program that's as serious as a heart attack, Zenon drops yet another career defining work that places him so far ahead of the pack even the verbose run out of words. A killer work for all music fans that are just plain feeling disenfranchised and aged out, it's kind of like the fuel that originally stated Windham Hill's fire. Get on board.
(Miel)

Number 41/Number 294
August 21, 2018
MIDWEST RECORD
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record


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