ORICE JENKINS/Centennial Cole: We'll own that it might just be us, but we like our tributes with some special sauce. Jenkins brought an extra few bottles along. With a Cole like smoky voice at the core, Jenkins let's his musos take flight of fancy from there making things classic and modern at once. While most original Cole fans are probably as gone as he is, it's only fair to make this something new generations that probably weren't even born when the two Nats did their electronic duet have some legacy meat they can sink their teeth into. With a top heavy set of Cole classics from the corner he turned to reveal his vocal chops, this is a can't miss set on a lot of levels. This is a load of classics given a smart rendition throughout.
(Truth Revolution 50)
JIRGA/original soundtrack: One of those delightful unicorns, a soundtrack album that can stand as a stand alone album, the composer, a former malcontent drummer, was given marching orders to make this cleffer sound like Morricone meets Moroder in the Afghan desert. Sure it sounds like an impressionistic directive, but the pro in AJ True rose to the challenge and like the clothes make the man, this cleffer makes the pic. A left field delight, those that like it out side the lines but cohesive have something to prize here--world beat fan or not.
JACK DeKEYZER/Check Mate: Canada's king of the blues might as well have called his set "Chess Mate" as it's a tribute to Chess Records that's done right and right on throughout. A cat that can be counted on to win top shelf awards almost every time he drops a new release, this white boy with the blues is in pure entertainment mode here, rocking the house as the night rolls on. You just know Willie Dixon and the gang are smiling down in this set, digging every ounce of the love in the grooves. Hot stuff.
(Blue Star 2511)
DAVID BOWLIN/Bird as Prophet: For anyone that was sad the proposed album, "Jethro Meets the Machine", in which Jethro Burns was going to face off against a synth player never got off the drawing board, this set of a classical violinist going solo against electronics can fill that loss. A set that can be counted on to chart new paths in contemporary classical, well, the times they are a-changing'. Nu ears may have already beat this to the finish line as it's as much about sound as it is about music, but fire in the right hands can cook a yummy stake instead of burn a building down. Ya get me? This is way more than creativity just for the sake of creativity. Check it out.
(New Focus 237)
LEON LEE DORSEY/Monktime: When bassist Dorsey set out to make his first record in 20 years, and make it a tip of the cap to Thelonious Monk, it looks like nobody told him Monk was a pianist as this trio ain't got one. What it does have is plenty of daddio! Just plain, right on playing that hits all the right notes in the right order giving you uncut, unfiltered Monk without the manqué. Killer stuff for those just want it from deep in the pocket by real pros (cough**Mike Clark** on drums).
(Jazz Avenue 1)
PAUL GABRIEL/Man of Many Blues: This white boy with the blues is a member of the Duke Robillard gang and plays his ax with the signature kind of Duke moves. With as much of a rock attitude as his music will allow in the music, this cat for all audiences has it all down right and tight making some first class entertainment that does nothing but deliver throughout. Check it out.
ALEX CUBA/Sublime: The Canadian living Cuban finds a sweet spot in his world beat here that has him walking a line between Unplugged and being Todd Rundgren. Playing all the instruments and laying down the tracks in the heat of inspiration hitting him, this handy award winner that has something so mighty and pure here that cuts right to the heart of the matter in such a precise way, his scalpel like precision is sure to get award voters to sit up and take notice once again. Solidly smoking world beat that sounds like it was recorded just for you, this is the tonic disenfranchised adult ears are demanding.
GILES ROBSON/Don't Give Up on the Blues: Some showmen are jive and some showmen are Robson--the first cat from across the pond to record for Alligator. A white boy with the blues that's a world wide recognized harp master, Robson blows up a storm here in good company making this high octane release one that's sure to blow your socks off as it merrily earns him another award for his growing trophy case. This cat is writing the book on badass!
(American Showplace 7890)
MADISON GALLOWAY/Moon & Mercury: Tired of young ladies too young to even know what they are bitching about bitching their way to critical acclaim? Galloway eschewed prom and teen aged hijinx to be a road warrior leading a band of gypsies across Canada spreading her roots rocking gospel. With youthful energy that makes left leaning pioneer woman like Rhianna Giddens and Ruthe Foster seem totally old school, she's like Joan Jett going alt.roots. Totally crazy and totally right on----or totes as the kids would say.
TERRI HENDRIX/Talk to a Human Project 5.3: Hendrix has been indie from day one but here we find her and producer Lloyd Maines going even indie from themselves with a set that's like nothing you would ever expect from the Austin/Nashville axis---no matter how many old roads pop up. Part of what was supposed to be a year long, multi part series until life got in the way, this edition that focuses on the difficulty of real communication in the modern world is nothing nearly as dry as that description would suggest. Incredibly personal, incredibly musical and totally well written, this set that colors so far outside the lines follows in the footsteps of John Stewart's later ambient/industrial/electronic works that were miles away from folk music but still brought you home again. Call it what you will but it's an incredible win for indie music for adults and people that need real music that speaks to them.
TERRI HENDRIX/Who is Ann? Project 5.4: There's no dust on producer Lloyd Maines here on this experimental set that shows he's a man for all seasons--including ones that haven't arrived yet. A tough little set about kicking depression and tough times in the pants and moving on, this little ep could put a passel of self help publishers out of business if the word on it spread. Do your part! A real ear and brain opener that takes Hendrix to the places she's always dreamed of.
MERZBOW HAINO PANDI/Become the Discovered, Not the Discoverer: Sonic improv from Japan as three hell raisers go completely nuts on two suites each in two parts. A speed rush and a speed buzz, this is where you go after you've left the opium den far behind.
(Rare Noise 111)
LED BIB/It's Morning: Ever wonder about life after Wang Chung and where it goes? It goes to a band where prog meets heavy rock meets experimental jazz. Going places Bill Bruford never imagined when he set sail on uncharted waters, this bunch is a bunch of pros that never heard of discipline but always keep things intriguing. Always eclectic and electric, just strap yourself in and enjoy this roller coaster ride through the cosmos and beyond (without it being space rock).
(Rare Noise 108)
Volume 43/Number 310
August 27, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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