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CAROL MORGAN TRIO/Opening: If you've followed Morgan through any of the Diva Orchestra related recordings, you know how sexist it would be to say she can hold her own with any of the trumpet blowing fellahs. Sheesh. A real player with a big tone, Morgan leads the trio through a tour de force that unselfconsciously puts her front and center quite deservedly so. A mainstay in hipper New York jazz circles, this is another winning solo set from Morgan that should serve to widen the ripples from those circles a little farther west of the Hudson. Check it out.

ERIKA MATSUO/Obsession: I guess the memo has gone out. Hot, young Asian chicks are no longer required to be classical/crossover violinists if they want to be in the music business. Matsuo has gotten the memo that it's ok to be Brazilian flavored and she jumps in with both feet on a Brazilian flavored set that covers the high spots without hitting clichés and shows she's got the vocal chops to take this anywhere she wants to go. Tasty, auspicious debut that genre fans and jazz vocal fans looking for a new kick will do quite well to look, and listen, in this direction. Well done.

YUKO ITO/Mania de Voce: Looks like more than the memo has gone out. There's something in the water. Two hot, young Asian chicks with a thing for Brazilian music on the same day? Ito differs from Matsuo in that she has fronted some punk bands in the past and you can hear the manic energy in her Brazilian waxings where Matsuo has the sound of lingering over cocktails down pat. The high octane side of things that probably sounds the way Ipanima sounds once the sun goes down, same world different take, same big fun quotient. Solid stuff high octane fans will dig.

JEFF TURNES/Five Horses, Four Riders: I guess you call this set a roots set simply because of the lack of anything else. Married to blues belter Janiva Magness but playing and writing with a literal list of everybody, this finds Turnes stepping out on his own, with some genre stellar pals in tow, and letting the heights get hit. A very singular set that could possibly be a hit in today's decentralized times, he's from the heart all the way. Not strictly in the blues bag, his most recent triumph is Mavis Staples' Grammy nominated live set, this is a delightfully eclectic set that takes you to the outer reaches and pretty much leaves you there---not caring too much how you will get back. Killer, adult stuff.

ADRIANO SANTOS/In Session: Well, now we know there has to be something in the air. Three new Brazilian flavored releases in one day and all of them cover different territory? A high octane jazz session that covers many leading composers from Brazil that aren't named Jobim finds this drummer knowing how to trust his sidemen to let the good times roll. Energetic and engaging, this set is on the money throughout, even when it sounds more New York than Brazil, which is certainly something we wouldn't hold against it. This is the kind of outing that gets the party started.

NOAH EARLE/This is the Jubilee: The atavistic genes guiding this release hark back to the cool folkie-singer/songwriter albums of the early 70s that fused a little bit beyond the fences making it just a little bit more. A sweet writer that knows how to get those sliders over the plate, Earle has a great handle on cocktail folk knowing how to serve up an after hours set that is as far from lite jazz as you can get but still knows it's way around the after hours world. A dandy diversion from a young ‘un that just keeps getting more and more solid each timeout.

BETH McKEE/I'm That Way: Former front wheel of Cajun group Evangeline, McKee kicks it out on her debut solo set by doing a whole program of Bobby Charles material, the hits, the cult classics and more revving it up like Bonnie Raitt might have during her Woodstock stay if she'd run into Charles who was there around the same time. A smart, deliberate, from the heart roots set based on one of contemporary music's basically unsung heroes, this is one mighty fine spotlight for singer and songwriter, with the crack blend of musicians bringing up the rear obviously glad to be along for the ride. A real roots set of the type that most roots fans have really been longing for.

PAUL CURRERI/California: A highly off beat singer/songwriter that has somehow managed to make a laconic high energy album, continues to confound and amaze as he pursues a singular vision that pioneers mood splicing. Way left of center set, malcontents everywhere have a new poster boy that isn't into shoe gaze but certainly isn't walking on sunshine. Strange stuff that open eared deep thinkers will find relaxing.

Volume 33/Number 142
March 23, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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