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COME SEE ABOUT ME/Benefit for the IBMA Trust Fund-The Mountain Home Family: Ok, soapbox time. There are some musician aid societies that do a better job of taking care of musos in need than others. While there are some more high profile than the IBMA Trust for Bluegrass musos, I'm not sure those others are as high minded. Really, what bluegrass players does the mainstream know beside Ricky Skaggs? These cats are the original punk rockers. There's a lot of super pickers out there piling into the van and heading for the next gig 400 miles away the next day. And many of them do it out of passion without a safety net. The Mountain Home Family label acts pulled together for this charity fund raiser of original material for this set to make the cushion a little bigger. While the songs are centered around being in it all together, because of the family oriented nature of a lot of bluegrass, it all fits together nicely. Check it out and do good by doing good. Then you can solve the trivia question of which song here was written by Conway Twitty.
(Mountain Home 17182)

RICH KRUEGER/Now Then: So an old folkie influenced by Jacques Brel as much as Peter Stampfel (who shows up here) steps away from music for 20 years to work 100 hours a week as a brain doctor when the bolt from the blue hits him and he hies off to Kerrville where he becomes the latest in a long line of top winners. Unlike many other doctors shaking off stress by subsidizing their dormant musical dreams, this brain doctor is using both halves of his brain here and making much more than a credible busman's holiday in the process. Sounding like a nice folk rock record until you really start listening and realizing this cats freek folk chops are intact, that's when the fun begins for any folk-folk/rock fan that ever dug outsiders like Tom Waits (who Krueger met on a Chicago train). The outsider tradition is alive and well and you're glad he has the wherewithal to follow his muse without starving. Well done.
(RKM 5)

WET INK/20: Celebrating their 20th anni by letting their large ensemble run free, this set proves you can like pots and pans music when it's not played like pots and pans music made solely to impress a rigged arts council grant committee. Progressive and adventurous music, this set might not be for everyone but if you really want to be a left leaning contemporary classical cat and escape the gravitational pull of John Cage, these vet scenesters have the tonic for you.
(Carrier 41)

JUDITH LORICK/The Second Time Around: If this set sounds like a classic thrush date, it's because Lorick comes to the whole thing organically. Celebrating being reunited with a lost love of 50 years ago (really), this finely aged in oak performance has the jazzbos on board making it all happen in an afternoon. With well chosen oldies rounding out the program, classic jazz vocal fans have something here right from the heart that is sure to touch theirs. Hot stuff throughout.
(JLJ 2014)

KEN WILEY/Cuerno Exotica: Taking things you wouldn't imagine south of the border (like classical), the jazz French horn player and his pals make a wonderful listening date that's so captivating it's easy to see how his chops can take him from playing with Charlie Haden to Grant Geissman with loads of impressive stops along the way. The kind of fun stuff we need more of, this is a fine reminder of jazz as party music and how easily that can be done. A winner.
(Krug Park)

REBECCA BLASBAND/Here: So many manqué, so little time. Blasband claims she made this in connection with the spirit of John Lennon. Want to give her a punch in the mouth? Don't. She really captures 70s Lennon here in damn fine style. With Mamet and Macy as mentors, Adam Schlesinger as a partner and a resume that shows she understands the business side of creativity as well as the airy fairy side, this is a dandy underground set by one with great experience in the pas de deux. Solid stuff for fans of solid songwriting, her words light the way well.

NOA LEVY/Take Two: A pomo cabaret singer stretches her wings here outside of the walls of academe that have groomed her along the way--up to now. Working out with some worthy jazzbos that support her vision well, she loads on the chestnuts here to draw you into the tent to show you what she can do. The new crop of jazz divas is being a borning here.

STEVEN TAETZ/Drink You In: A vocal cat that was raised on stuff from the golden era comes to his modernization and refashioning here naturally. All the way down to bouncing off the trumpet mute, he's got he whole sound and fury down right. Not done ironically or nostalgically, this cat is mining a groove that's just too good to be neglected in these deconstructed times. Zesty jazz vocal stuff that works throughout.

JAKE HERZOG=YISHAI FISHER/Stringscapes: The always compelling guitarist Herzog teams up here with a classical guitar ace for a set that finds them mingling jazz and classical without Herzog leaving his prog edges too far behind. A dandy modern listening date by two pros that were meant to play off each other at some point, anybody missing golden era Windham Hill guitar dates have a real sweet tooth filer here. Aces on parade.
(Fret Monkey)

ANDRES VIAL/Plays Theodosius Monk Sphereology V. 1: When Vial was a preteen smitten with Tabitha Soren, her acknowledgment of The Loneliest Monk made him want to know more. Who knew where it would lead him. First we get white boys with the blues, now we get white boys with the Monk who aren't just manqueing around. Focusing on tracks off Monk's beaten path, this has got to make the Baroness feel her money was well spent. Proving that it's new if it's new to you, Vial keeps Monk's clunky chording in tact but makes it all fresh and new along the way as well. With a real feel and zest for the path he's chosen, this could be the tip of a whole new Monk revival. Hot stuff throughout, particularly from a white boy from Canada.
(Chromatic Audio 111417)

JUSTIN KAUFLIN/Coming Home: Once upon a time, Quincy Jones didn't have to worry about being a black man making it in a white man's world and staying on top of the charts once you got there. The vibe he felt 60 years ago is the vibe powering this piano jazzbo set by a blind cat that really plays what the feels. Signed to Jones for all aspects of his career, the playing here that touched Jones will really touch you as well. Artistic without being artsy, this is real listening material with out frippery that needs nothing more than it's innate chops. A dazzling outing throughout.
(Qwest JKM 3)

Number 41/Number 312
September 8, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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