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CAROL SLOANE/We'll Meet Again: Once again we are faced with the proof that it doesn't have to be complicated to be good. 50 years experience, some great songs that aren't overexposed and Ken Peplowski and Bucky Pizzarelli by her side. This is the making of a great, intimate album that cooks throughout. Pure jazz vocal playing at the top of it's game and required listening for anyone serious about their listening matter.

FIRST MEETING/Cut the Rope: Suppose 70s Lou Reed met up with 70s Miles Davis and the two of them decided to have a live board game. The crème of the Japanese jazz progressive underground team up here for a date of what happens when improv is in the air and heroin, acid, speed and crack light up the night. Do you have to be a college kid to love this? Dunno. Does it help if you hate your parents? Oh, they'll give you ever you want just to turn it off. Will grown ups listen to this? Well, does arts council jazz ring any bells?

GATO LIBRE/Shiro: In which we find the trumpet player leader of First Meeting showing a completely different side that shows him really playing and not sounding to most like he's just screwing around. Playing in the Lester Bowie mode, he creates a very personal jazz statement, largely with just his trumpet voice front and center. It's heavy duty art jazz to be sure, but it will hit you the right way when you are in an artistic mood rather than rub you the wrong way.

SATOKO FUJII ORCHESTRA TOKYO/Zakopane: Carla Bley may not have been a heavy seller at the turn of the 70s but it seems like everyone who bought one of her albums started their own progressive jazz aggregation. This 4th album from this side of Fujii's varied playing is her first studio album in this format and the logical and worthy successor to Bley's early Watt dates. I'm not exactly sure what we need to be liberated from these days, but this is certainly in the pocket of liberation orchestra music. Free jazz scaling new heights and here to pick up the adventurous listener for a full blown wild ride. A must for progressive jazzbos that really like to cut loose.

SATOKO FUJII Ma-Do/Desert Ship: In which we find Fujii showing her small group progressive side as it seems like someone put out a call from AACM to back her up, but like Beefheart and Zappa, she needs her own crew in tow that will know what she wants them to know. If there's a such thing as progressive edge with a commercial side, it feel like Fujii found that sweet spot here.

JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION/Dirty Shirt Rock ‘n' Roll: Almost 20 years later while grunge is over and done with, one of the original anti-grunge crews is just getting a second wind. Kicking it off with a greatest hits set that presages a catalog revamp and reissue, this is the distillation of the scuzz-blues rock that Spencer has all to himself. As long a teens have hormones in upheaval, this hard attack stuff is going to be welcomed like a tonic no matter how much guy liner gets consumed along the way. This distillation puts Spencer in the teen rock hall of fame with all of his forbearers that weren't afraid to use their heads as battering rams. Completely non-stop, even in it's quieter moments.

NINJA ASSASSIN: Box says it's the greatest ninja movie of all time. The box also says it was made by a bunch of high profile producers and directors. You say, how come this bitch wasn't in the theatres? Well, you want your chop socky or not? As much as we love garbage culture, we don't know if we are qualified to call this the greatest or where to put it elsewhere on the spectrum, we just know this ninja telling of David Copperfield delivers the chop socky. In bluray, it delivers more chop socky in your face as well as the now standard bluray combo pack elements. Hey, it's got more of a story line than "Kill Bill".

BLIND SIDE: It was kind of a crappy year for movies. Did Sandra Bullock really deserve the Oscar for best actress? She certainly deserved to be in the running for moving outside her comfort zone, even if we were deceived by the commercials that were cut to make us think she was playing a slutted up MILF, which we didn't get from her tough as nails bible beater. Bringing this one home, you can really enjoy what a well crafted pic this is and her contributions to the ensemble. A highly commercial pic that found a way to tug at your heartstrings, this pic is a sentimental fave for so many reasons that it probably would have been unfair not to give her the nod. A lot of people talk the family entertainment talk, but this pic really does walk the walk and that's what makes it a good bet for a purchase when you are watching your pennies. It's got that something extra that makes it repeatable and it can be enjoyed by the family together. Give the props where they are due---well done. If you have the option, pick up the bluray version since Bullock has the MILF thing going on well and you might as well enjoy it full on.

Volume 33/Number 130
March 11, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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I am thrilled you like "We'll Meet Again" and thank you for your generous assessment. Thank you.
-Carol Sloane








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