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RYAN KEBERLE/Heavy Dreaming: It's been three years since we raved over Keberle's auspicious debut and it's nice that he's decided to drop by again. He's covered a lot of ground since then and this set is a complete over haul of the sound but no less of a knock out. Focusing more on sitting down jazz this time out, Keberle is a serious young man with a horn that knocks the socks off everyone that hears him. Simply put, this is the bone man you have to open your ears to if you want to enjoy the future of trombone jazz starting now.

FLATT & SCRUGGS/Foggy Mountain Banjo: Penultimates are easy to throw around, but ultimates are another issue. There's a lot of consensus about that this is the ultimate instrumental/bluegrass date ever. The consensus might be right. They had been plying their trade for a while when this set was cut, and it was cut in the middle of a run of legendary albums with the folk boom and "Beverly Hillbillies" giving them an unprecedented platform from which to hawk their formidable wares. Pristine, new mastering makes the playing pop in a timeless fashion that is nowhere near dated and seems like it will be fresh forever. Ultimate? Maybe. Transcendent? You bet! If I hear any of you saying "but I don't like bluegrass", I won't be happy if you use that as a reason not to check this out.

BLOODSTONE/Are You Ready to Do a Thing?: They kept working for 30 years after this last trip to the charts in 1976 and this eclectic set works well on a lot of levels. Originally a doo wop crew that fell in with an English blues rock producer, they did a great job of being a fast second to the best of the funk outfits of the day. With new producers in the booth for this set, the group left a nice statement in their wake on their last trip to the charts. Solid soul/funk that never fails to be a party on a platter, who would think there are still important works that still haven't seen cd release until now?

GEORGE LOPEZ/Tall, Dark & Chicano: A very interesting bellwether of a cd. Concert/record Lopez is a different character than sitcom/talk show Lopez. Here, Lopez is political and radical, much like when George Carlin first went hippie. Jokes are told in English with the punch lines in Spanish and the crowd goes nuts. At first blush, it almost makes you re-examine Freddie Prinz and Paul Rodriguez as the Spanish equivalent of minstrel shows and see Carlos Mencia as a musical hall punter angling for a spot on "Sabato Gigante". Through it all, Lopez does a classy job of playing to ‘special markets' (as they used to be called) and playing to the ‘mainstream" (whatever that is anymore). So, if you don't speak Spanish, the bit about Latino computer abbreviations might be a good time to hit the fast forward button but the bit about how Sarah Palin and Barack Obama are Latino will make up for it. If you do speak Spanish, judging from the audience reaction, this is probably a laugh riot throughout. And it'll be interesting to see where Lopez goes with his new political streak.

AZIZ ANSARI/Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening: Roll it back two generations to the flowering of Jewish humor and Italian humor when second generations "ethnics" with a foot in their ancestral culture and a foot in their "native" culture made for some lasting laugh riots. The new generations of ‘ethnics' are working that groove quite well. This Indian lad acknowledges his background, but he's pretty much as American as apple pie otherwise. Ansari excels at observations/conversational humor and merges it with his somewhat high energy delivery for a real good time. The jokes probably hit harder if you are younger, but anyone can have a grand time letting the good times roll here.

NICK THUNE/Thick Noon: So Henny Youngman and Steven Wright tossed some DNA in a Petri dish and put the centrifuge on spin. Thune came out of the test tube. With a medium speed delivery, he delivers the one liners in rapid fire style and it seems like it's an effort for him to miss the target. A dandy wraparound package that has a dvd packed along with the cd featuring a stand up special and other video works giving you a full on Thune experience. Anyone up for a straight ahead laugh fest is well advised to check this out, pronto.

SONGS OF THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM: Offbeat malcontents never had it so good as 99 songs from the first three seasons of Sarah Silverman's show get collected under one roof. Perfect for those with ADD since very little runs past a minute, this is sure to keep you laughing until your sides hurt.

PEPPE MEROLLA/Stick With Me: Here's a cat that's done a lot of heavy stuff in his native Italy and is the kind of cat that attracts attention even though this is probably your first spin on these shores with him. He kicks it off making you think this is some kind of new age/civil rights jazz thing, but then the bop begins to burn. With a stellar crew on board, everyone is pro that doesn't need to be told what to do or how to do it. A New York sounding set all the way, jazzbos are sure to have a good time here.

Volume 33/Number 120
March 1, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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