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THE RIVER SOUTH/Follow the Light: An underground multi hat wearing muso checks in with an atmospheric folkie singer/songwriter set that feels like it was built for his contemporaries that need something more than beats in their music but have gotten used to contemporary edges. A nice solid outing that doesn't give you an easy peg to hang it on even if first blush makes it seem otherwise, anyone that likes back porch music will have an easy time here no matter what.

AYN INSERTO JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Down a Rabbit Hole: Back with their first new record in a decade, this crew's left leaning tendencies make the title an apt choice. Without going for creativity for the sake of creativity, they push the envelope lightly but firmly giving your ears a big band breath of fresh air. Guest stars bring their chops and add to the proceedings nicely. A solid set for those looking for something out of the ordinary that respects their ears.
(Summit 732)

JONATHON LONG: As we find Samantha Fish adding label owner to her bag of tricks, we find her kicking things off with a cat that's more outlaw than blues rocker as she slyly shows us she's no one trick pony. It's hard enough for Shooter to wear the Waylon mantle so Long hit's the off ramp to chart his own course nicely. With an immediate sound and feel, Long hits it out of the park for those that remember when Wal-Mart parking lots really were corn fields. Hot stuff.
(Wild Heart 1001)

TERRY BLERSH/Play It All Day: This meat and potatoes blues rocker turns in a Canadian party platter that has loads of chops on parade. The only frills are the gravy on the potatoes, and that's all that's needed as his command of the basics seem to serve them up in a fresh new way that doesn't stray far from their roots. Simply a slamming good time where nothing goes wrong and it's all a gasser. Well done.

DR. CHRISPY/VHS: An actual rocket scientist that loves space rock finally gets the gumption to release his prog debut. Like one of those cats that figures out how to make music using math, this award winning Greatest Australian Not Living in Australia (really, look it up) takes prog to the next level as he mashes up what ever he feels like into the mix and it all works. Crazy stuff that comes close to being an audio kaleidoscope, it'll take you more than one listen to pick out all the iconography lurking in these grooves. A solid bet for those looking for something different.
(Interplanetary Records 1)

YELENA ECKEMOFF/Better Than Gold & Silver: The piano ace continues to takes her vision farther afield than you would have guessed when she was starting out. Surrounding herself with a bunch of the best downtown jazzbos, she sets sail on a two disc set, one vocal and one instrumental of the same material, with her versions of religious psalms. Admittedly, it's not going to be something for everyone but the instrumental disc alone makes it enough of an adventure for modern jazz fans to check out. Solid work by all throughout.
(L&H 806151)

ARTHUR GOTTSCHALK/Art for Two: It took Allen Toussaint to make it clear to us that there's music in the streets, there's music everywhere. Gottschalk took this to heart in that he finds inspiration everywhere from forbidden tunes to Zappa---and rolls it all into his own. An award winner all over the globe, this cat that can go from whimsical to serious within a measure of short measure enchants the ear mightily. While he has been called prickly, that's one of the descriptors you should look at in terms of lopping it off the end of the bell curve because it doesn't count. If you know who Raymond Scott is, you have to look into this collection of duets that takes it to the limit. Well done by an obvious pro.
(Navona 6185)

ALAN RINEHART/Dreams Laid Down: Even if you aren't a classical guitar fan, you have to give this set points just for the crystal clear recording that makes it sound stellar even on an old computer. Drinking from the same water that gave us a host of incredible guitarists in the early 70s, whether classical or not, this vet shows how time has not slowed down his fingers, ears or reflexes. Whether doing miniatures or suites, the touch and texture of Rinehart's playing is a masterful joy to behold. Be sure to play this solo acoustic guitar set the next time you want to feel like a grown up.
(Ravello 7996)

ARS FUTURA ENSEMBLE/Veil: I certainly haven't heard everything the genre has to offer but the chamber music of Greg D'Alessio is a high water mark for contemporary classical because it has the feel of old school works. While there are enough contemporary rough edges to the work that make it clear this isn't some dusted off old school work, it fits so tightly in the pocket that you could fool your casual friends. This is the kind of stuff that brings moldy figs and newbies together without any friction.
(Navona 6181)

COSTAS/Works for Guitar and Flute: In which we enter the nu genre of classical/world beat as this duo tackles the works of the Latin edges of the Atlantic---from both sides of the pond. A classy duo recital set, this is great stuff to have handy when it's time for an up market cocktail hour. Putting this festive music in the hands of these sure fingered pros makes it a winner throughout.
(Big Round 8953)

Number 41/Number 295
August 22, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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