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TORBEN WALDORFF/American Rock Beauty: Fomenting in hipster enclaves in downtown Manhattan jazz circles, this could easily be the mainstream sound of tomorrow's jazz as guitar man Waldorff and other downtowners lock a groove into progressive leanings and make it nu. It might have been conceived downtown but it's uptown and up market all the way. A totally sophisticated outing that a populist can enjoy, that this cat is here to stay as a leader is undisputable. It sounds and feels like yuppie jazz, but it veers sneakily to the left and is not to be used as a brunch soundtrack unless you are so hip that brunch doesn't start before 3 p.m. After hours brunch music? Try it, you'll like it.

SOREN MOLLER & DICK OATTS/The Clouds Above: A delightful high water mark for contemporary sitting down, chamber jazz as this piano/sax duo takes on the impressionistic musings that crossed Moller's mind as he traveled from Denmark to New York. Letting his mind roam the 7 miles above the Earth as he rode, he came to grips with a kaleidoscopic range of material that many try for but seem to fall short in their grasp. It's sitting down jazz, but moldy figs need not apply.

CHRISTOPHER LEHMAN/Popjazzic: Trumpet man Lehman has all kinds of ideas about how he's steeped in all kinds of black musical idioms but he truth of the matter is that he's a party animal. This is a happy, funky set that does draw on a lot of stuff, a lot of it black, but it doesn't feel like it's derived from church and spirituals. It's a party and there's a party going on. In case any of you forgot, this is what a good time sounds like. A solid set that rises up out of nowhere, plants a flag and let's the jazzbo good times roll.

DON DeLILLO (READ BY Campbell Scott)/Point Omega: The guy that writes the futuristic thrillers has done it again with another look into the future as dangerous eggheads are the ones that are upsetting the applecart. Screwing with time and space while possibly on the run, the protagonist is trying to document the treachery that is going to cause the downfall of everything. Because he has been so on the money in the past, DeLillo fans are going to enjoy this paranoid thriller on a lot of levels and wait for the ultimate chance to tell the rest of us that they told us so. Presented unabridged with all the spine tingling action in tact from the page.

GLENN BECK/Idiots Unplugged: Oh, for years we've been harping that audio should create it's own stars, besides the readers, and be more than a roll off media. Beck widens his Idiot franchise in this audio exclusive which is an expansion of his previous sessions with the guy whose brain is smaller than his mouth. If you are already a fan, these conservative ramblings will be a fun romp of preaching to the choir. If you aren't a fan, there's plenty here to listen to and get enraged over. Ah, the live of the commercial agent provocateur.

JIM WALLIS/Rediscovering Values: First we get "The Secret" telling us how to make Gordon Gecko look like a sandlot player, now we get the pendulum swinging the other way telling us to rediscover our values and get out moral compasses back pointing to the right direction. Self help tomes take on a new tangent. Mixing the messages from his Sojourners media empire with cancer treatment messages, he laughs at the typical Republican core of a return to normalcy by stressing we are now in the new normal and what we knew as normal got us into this mess, so we can't go back to normal. It's unabridged so you get your $30 worth as this clocks in at over 7 hours of basically telling you to get back in touch with common sense. There's a lot of people that need to hear this. Too bad he's not with one of those organizations that would hand this out on street corners since most people are so dunderheaded, they wouldn't admit they need a refresher course in common sense.

DALE CARNEGIE/How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job: You got a problem with 5 discs of basically Dale Carnegie's Greatest Hits? Pulling passages from his tomes that first came out over 60 years ago, the salesman's salesman for contemporary times still delivers the messages that are plain, unvarnished and worked for him and the organization man back in the 50s. Will they work for the particle man of the 10s? You got something better to work with? Some things are simply timeless and this just might be one of them.

ROBERT HARRIS (read by Simon Jones)/Conspirata: Ok historical fiction fans, hang on to your hats because here comes a tale of Republican Rome with a load of today's underpinnings. Rome is simply blowing to shit and Cicero is trying to save the empire as well as his own life as Caesar shows just how much the prehistoric politicians set the pattern for today's gangstas. An unabridged 14 hour telling, all the juicy detail is here as Cicero's slave let's you in on what's going on and what can be done to turn it around, if at all. A healthy entry in a mainstream genre.

Volume 33/Number 104
February 13, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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