VERY BE CAREFUL/Escape Room: Can you have a pomo punk ethos while playing semi-traditional Columbia folk music? Why not? A party band to the core, this crew isn't about playing to pop culture dictates, they are genre splicing whatever feels good and makes sense. This set shows them at their more traditional, but a closer listening lets you actually hear them wink. A great party record for gringos that like to keep it organic but want to stray a bit from typical yuppie, Americana fare and want to add the appropriate spice. Caliente.
CHRISTIAN FABIAN/Keys in Ascension: Joined by his Fabian Zone Trio, the outfit he uses to promote musical freedom, Fabian genre splices within contemporary jazz modes to come up with a brew that makes you think it's going to zig when it zags right under your nose. A wonderful stew of contemporary, post bop and progressive jazzes, Fabian and the gang live it up in a bright, somewhat straight ahead set that has drive, verve and a sense of motion that carries you along nicely. A real contemporary jazzbo winner.
BARRY WHITE/I've Got So Much to Give: There have been several unassailable Barry White box sets over the years, but special attention is worth giving to this set, which kicked off the Barry White era. Opening his debut with a mod to Motown while trying to encroach upon Isaac Hayes bedroom funk territory, White turned up the heat to a low simmer that didn't know when to quit and obviously left his days as a Banana Split behind. So, take a trip back to the beginning of the Walrus of Love's run at the top when he was the Maestro with the mostest. Released 40 years ago. Wow, this might be what your grandparents were getting down to!
14038 (Mercury/20th Century)
BECKY SCHLEGEL/Dandelion: An interesting crossroads album for Schlegel. She's making the kind of music you want the Americana stars to make all the time but to do so would keep her a cult act forever. A gorgeous example of the kind of album that's successful because of word of mouth, it's low key but fully formed. Not consciously lofi but organic all the way, this is the kind of album that feels more like a friend than a purchase. She touches you with all her talents and delivers everything you want a top shelf singer/songwriter to bring. Hot stuff at the top of the organic pile.
ROBERTO BADOGLIO/Re-Evaluation Time: Assuming that nothing is static, yet everything old is new again, this record answers the question (if anybody asked) that wonders how fusion would sound if it was invented today. Well, if Joe Zawinul hadn't been part of the birth team, this set might have gone a longer way in answering the question, but Zawinul was a pretty forward looking cat. And he didn't play bass. This young ‘un and his bass take the world and electric elements and give them a weekend feel that makes this a new part of the legacy in the making. Simply tasty and accessible, it has something for your many moods and will add something good to all of them. A sure bet to make throughout.
OTIS TAYLOR/Clovis People V. 3: The back story to the genesis of this album is kind of interesting, but screw it, such is unnecessary when the music itself is so compelling. Take Muddy Waters post war industrial vibe, run it through a US3 remix, add some sacred steel and that lonesome Tex-Mex picking sound with some other worldly vocals on top and you have some new kind of industrial blues for the click and mortar age. A very forward thinking and sounding set that will make Taylor a load of new fans his grand children's age, just the guessing games you'll play trying to put your finger on what this reminds you of is worth the price of admission alone. Solid stuff that charts new frontiers with a very trusty GPS concealed somewhere.
THOMSON KNEELAND/Mazuka for a Modern Man: A tasty modern jazz record that has a sad back story about how it came into being but is a fitting legacy and send off for the fallen comrade that was so much a part of it's making. Mostly recorded three years ago, Kneeland and the gang are right in the moment offering an energetic, ensemble work that has the classic post bop feel with the load of modern and contemporary under tones. A dandy after hours treat, this crew played together for ten years and played all kind of music except whatever the kitchen sink would sound like. All the jazz and world ethnic influences sneak in and around and a good time is assured to all.
BICKEL/MARKS GROUP: College pals that finally make their recording debut after doing this for 20 years, they are the sum total of their experiences and have mastered that cool jazz sound that flies just under the radar that you always hope will break out and be a hit. With a 360 degree realm of experiences under the belts, this crew knows how to hit it out the park right away making this one seriously auspicious debut. Simply put, if you like straight ahead jazz that right on the money throughout, you'll have a hard time keeping your ears away from this. Well done.
Volume 33/Number 138
March 19, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record
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Thanks for the review!