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MIKE MARSHALL-CATERINA LICHTENBERG: It's like this: if Mike Marshall wants to introduce us to a mandolin player he thinks is his peer, it's in our interest to shut up and listen. Since he can play anything from any genre and raise everyone else's game in doing so, this duet set of up market music is a classic brunch/adult acoustic music set that hasn't really crossed our ears since Marshall and his pals invented NAC because there was nothing else to call what they were doing. One of the most delightful chamber classical releases you are bound to come across, it's feel too low key to call itself a classic, but we'll do that for it. This set is a freaking high water mark classic. Tasty and tasteful throughout, this is real music for people who can fearlessly call themselves grown ups.

SID SELVIDGE/I Should be Blue: An underground roots legend that was in the genre before it existed with underground chops that go back to being a white boy playing with Fred McDowell, Selvidge now commands your attention with the Van Zandts and the Charles having checked out on us. High concept: a southern gothic Leonard Cohen. Expanding his palette by enlisting Don Dixon as producer, this is a quasi-geezer with an eye on the future. It's like 70s folk/pop brought into the present where all that's missing is a lot of beer and a term paper due tomorrow to make the vibe complete. If you know what I'm taking about here, this is a tonic of a break from looking at the want ads and stressing over the mortgage payment. Be sure to give it a spin. From Fred Neil to Duke Ellington to originals, it's all on the ball and a welcome return to a place you'd like to be.

BEAT KAESTLI/Invitation: After an impressive home grown date last year, the gang at Chesky liked what they heard and took Kaestli into the studio on their dime under their aegis and got a vocal set that shows the rest of the world what he's been showing New York audiences as he works his way around the system. With back up from uptown and down town hot shots, Kaestli does the classic vocal song book and gives it a breath of fresh air infusation that really blows it up fresh into something new. Captured in SACD, you are there and it's a good place to be. Well done.

TOM LAGANA/Schematic: DC area guitarist loses his Pat Metheny fantasies on his second outing and gets in touch with his inner Wes Montgomery while adding swing and his own lyricism to the gumbo. Classic club jazz trio with some special guests adding some extra bounce and an over all modern feel. Martini music? Yeah, but not if you're a douche bag that just wants to guzzle something dirty with some sounds in the background. A delightfully, left leaning adult jazz date, this is something you can find something new in with each repeated playing. This is something that could easily become one of your go to records when the mood needs to be lightened. Well done.

KENIA/Celebrates Dorival Caymmi: Basically Caymmi was the Jobim of Bahia. Kenia continues to come roaring back from her two decade silence with the kind of chops that made her a smooth jazz fixture once upon a time. A subtle and graceful set that puts her voice and Caymmi's music front and center, this pairing was one that was more than made in Brazil. Wonderful cocktail hour jazz vocal that is sophisticated and up market all the way. Kenia could probably make the background for Ripple seem classy. A highly tasty set for adult tastes.

TANYA TUCKER/Greatest Hits: Before there was Leann Rimes, Taylor Swift and Mindy McCready, well nigh 40 years ago, 12 year old Tanya Tucker had the chops to ride David Allen Coe songs to the top of the charts. Here's a single disc look back at a career that goes back to the beginning as caps off with Rhonda Vincent duets. Tucker is one of those commercial acts that it's easy to take for granted but this stunning look over the shoulder puts a lot of things in perspective and puts a lot of things right. And, it's a dandy single disc look back at a lot of country music high spots. Solidly tracked.

JOHN STEIN-RON GILL/Turn Up the Quiet: Remember those albums Sinatra did with Jobim where it seemed like they were trying to make the quietest record ever made? This is certainly a throw back to that. With Gill sounding like he learned to sing at the feet of Billy Eckstine and Stein knowing his way around a guitar fret board, this duo, with just a little bass coloration, make a completely enchanting adult jazz vocal date. With an extra heaping helping of class spread all over everything, this is a subtle set that you'll be digging long before you even realize it. This is loaded with a classic sound and vibe that's always welcome. A winner throughout.

TRIBUTE TO JJ CALE v. 1 The Vocal Sessions/various: How cool, a tribute to Cale and he isn't even dead yet. Back when Clapton was recording Cale songs, back when everybody was reading liner notes, it still seemed like I was the only one who knew who Cale was and always had to explain it. Of course, that was before the Internet. If all that was happening today, there would be message boards where the converted could congregate and no explanations would be needed. In the wake of his Grammy win with Clapton, Zoho Roots got the label's gang fired up to pay tribute to the southern treasure and it seems like very little coaxing was needed to get people on board and to give their all. Since a Cale album is a once in a blue moon thing, this sort of greatest hits from august vets and sure footed newcomers is a dandy thing. Suppose this is your first taste of Cale and you wouldn't be able to handle his laconic style on his own records. This is a fine place to jump in, only 40 years too late. Check it out.

Volume 33/Number 181
May 1, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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