NEW ORLEANS JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Songs-The Music of Allen Toussaint: The legendary Toussaint wrote enough mainstream hits that once he's been dead long enough, there'll be a ton of gift shop records dedicated to his ‘memory'. This ain't one of them. This Grammy winning bunch dedicated to the music and vibe of Nawlins turns their scope on Toussaint and they do it in an expansive way rather than a contracting one. Keeping his sound in tact without being a slave to it, the elemental funk of Nawlins is as front and center as Toussaint's tunes. With the spark of a true labor of love, this cinematically feeling set is a must for all fans of the master. Killer stuff throughout.
BOWERS FADER DUO/Between Us All: A classical duo that commissions art songs shows a punk sensibility as they do a bunch of songs inspired by the Depression photos of Walker Evans, many included in the program notes. Eggheads and highbrows have a potential top 40 of their own right in these grooves.
(New Focus 223)
GOLD LIGHT + SNAKEMUSK/Shadows in the Shallows: Americana at it's down mouth best. This duo could use some sunshine as they focus on the country duos of the past at their most hopeless. The spiritual children of Leonard Cohen live on.
(Bailey Park 1)
BENJI & RITA: It must be the New York influence on this New York/Brazilian duo that gives this set a lot of moments of feeling like a Hal Wilner tribute to Disney. Moving well beyond samba to Brazilian back alleys where you're sure to get rolled while looking for new adventures, this indigenous set has a recital feeling to it making it a most interesting audio travelogue ably fit for the real world beater that wants to keep it real. A wild ride throughout.
TANIKA CHARLES/Gumption: Modern soul from Canada by a real sister, none of this blue eyed soul stuff. Already showing the power to warm up the frozen nights, this set might not have the Philly International sound behind it but you are going to be getting some gritty flashbacks to when soul queens went down to Muscle Shoals and testified. Certified hot stuff.
(Record Kicks 71)
POLLY GIBBONS/All I Can Do: The rising young Brit unleashes her gritty, husky jazz vocals for a live audience and takes us back to a time when thrushes were broads and walked the earth like swaggering bad asses. The band is smoking appropriately as they raise the roof, and if this isn't a picture of a good time being had by all, maybe nothing is. A solid set of wonderful jazz vocal that doesn't come around every day.
RENEE & FRIENDS/Kindred: With kids getting more and more sophisticated at younger ages these days, this kind of tween set will give them some breathing room to process while they are growing up too quickly. With a load of grown up guests and a sound that could be found on any grown up record, this is probably more of a cutting edge set than we can fathom at this minute. The kids are mighty quick these days and they'll probably get it long before you do---let's hope they find the positive messages in the swirling sounds as well.
(One Melody 19)
RANDY KAPLAN/Shake It and Break It: No, this is not a kids record. Kaplan turns the kids on to pre WW2 blues by masters like John Hurt and others, adding commentary that's aimed at kids but can really be appreciated by adults. This is like a modern version of "Rocky & Bullwinkle". Sure it was cartoons, and five year old olds could really understand stories about the Cold War? Same vibe here. Adults will be ROFL throughout and as they play it again and again. Play this yourself and let the kids go play video games. This is a classic.
(Yellow Thing 70030)
Volume 43/Number 165
April 4, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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