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GIA NOTTE/Shades: The nu kind of alt.jazz diva has a mysterious look and likes out of focus pictures of herself; she owes more of a debt to Martin Denny than Ella and Billie and grabs your attention with tossing out something familiar so you feel safe stepping into the tent but then turns it into something dangerous. Certainly a high spot of nu jazz vocal, Notte is on to something here that could easily morph in to the sophisticated soundtrack for the non-douche bag side of Vegas. Oh yeah, sexy music for reality, not reality show contestants.

MARK WEINSTEIN/Timbasa: The 70 year old Jewish kid that knows how to rock Latin jazz flute is back again putting a different spin to evergreens like "Caravan" and placing it squarely in his mix. A solid party record that belies the AARP membership of it's prime mover. This sizzles nicely as Weinstein firmly commands his crew through some Afro Cuban hot stuff that kicks ass throughout.

SHERYL BAILEY/A New Promise: Kind of billed as a tribute to Emily Remler, the Courtney Love of jazz guitar, this is more of a tribute to the spirit of Remler since there's only a handful of things here really associated with her and the rest of it is more of springboard to Bailey finding a wider audience on her sixth outing. A real burner in the tradition of the Pat Martino's of the field, Bailey has her own assured voice on guitar taking back seat to one but needing the help everyone needs these days in getting your attention. With a 16 piece jazz orchestra behind her, this is a fully packed, meaty set that grabs your attention from all angles and doesn't let you out of it's site. Certainly loaded with a classic feel, this hits the target with ease and doesn't overwhelm you with it's voluminous chops which it could have easily done if it chose to. Winning and classy throughout.

TERRY OLDFIELD/All the Rivers Gold: Musical and impressionistic, this Oldfield Celtic classic is now back in print. Music you can absorb at several levels, you can either enjoy it at the Enya level or you can sink into the soundscape side of this and feel the auld sod beneath your feet and between your toes, even if your laying on the couch when you play it. Even if you were never to the Emerald Isle, this disc has the goods to transport you there once again. A solid world beat outing that offers so much more.

TERRY OLDFIELD/Reiki Healing Energy: Those who can do, do--those that can't do, teach. It's one thing to stand on the sidelines and tell people this is the right stuff, but when you are a reiki practitioner, like Oldfield in one of his many talents, it does lend some authenticity to your musical efforts to guide the practitioner along. Mixing music and nature, he has it in his head what needs to be heard as the chakras are getting straightened out, and he does a fine job of laying it on the line and putting it in the bytes. A sure bet for those giving the experience or those who wish to prolong it.

TERRY OLDFIELD/Spirit of India: Like a colonialist Brit of old, except without the bad vibes associated thereto, Oldfield travels with you to deepest, darkest Inja to unlock the secret mysteries that lie beyond. This 1997 date came before all that we gringos know as Bollywood and seems more authentic than the westernized stuff left leaning tastes have fun with. Betcha you could have a fun dinner for two at home with this playing in the background.

JACKIE RYAN/Best of Love Songs: A timely tip toe through the last 15 years of Ryan's tulips reminds us that she's not only a great jazz vocalist but has a sterling ear for underappreciated and unheralded sidemen as well as the smarts to know who to drag out of retirement as well. A solid romance collection that isn't without it's showstoppers along the way, Ryan has been at the top of her game longer than we realize. A handpicked collection of winners that distills this side of her to a top shelf essence.

CLAUDIO RODITI/Simpatico: The trumpet sidekick to greats like Herbie Mann and Paquito D'Rivera got some serious Grammy love this past year when his last set made it to the finals. This follow through set might take him all the way. Letting fly with the kind of playing that only comes from the heart, Roditi is no youngster but plays with a passion that misdirects your eyes from his age as it's tempered with life as well. A one of a kind date that hard core world/jazzbos will recognize as the kind of record that needed to be made. Hot stuff.

Volume 33/Number 97
February 6, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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