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PEGGY SEEGER/First Farewell: No plate of chopped liver herself, Seeger has been at the vortex of an amazing body of folk music for our entire era. Now her vortex mates are gone. So what does she do next? Makes an alleged farewell album with her sons and daughter in laws launching another round of being at an amazing vortex of folk music. With a voice that has stood the test of time and a pen still full of the piss and vinegar that had her writing "I Wanna be an Engineer", this set might have the feel of something that would have been right at home in pre-Kingston Trio era folk music but it sizzles with contemporary verve. If this is fact her sawn song, what a helluva way to go out. Killer stuff.
(Red Grape 4)

PETULA CLARK/In Her Own Write: Always an unstoppable freight train, Clark was always writing under the radar, but in her later years, like the late 80s forward, it seems like the only way she could get tunes she trusted was to write them herself. This collection gathers up two dozen of them and she acquits herself as a writer as well as a singer. The kind of schmaltz say Celine Dion kept alive, it might be pop for old people, but how long has she been doing this? This gives the middle of the road a wide swath.
(Sepia 8001)

DOGTOWN BLUES BAND/Search No More: The resumes of this crew are impeccable and it shows as they turn up the heat on this collection of classic blues, done their way. Hot throughout, Percy Mayfield, Bill Hill and others are given the kind of remembrance that really will make people remember them. More than a bunch having a good time with good intentions, this is a first class show. You don't have to be an over age frat boy to love it.

RAY OBIEDO/Latin Jazz Project V. 2: Here's further proof that if BMG gave Windham Hill a second wind that this cat would have been one of the standard bearers of the new generation. No matter, he's gone his own way quite nicely. Recording for his own label, there's no one he has to take orders from but he sure knows how to give them and follow righteously. Finding the sweet spot where smooth jazz and Latin jazz embrace, he rounds up a murderer's row of Frisco musos to bring his vision home in a grand scale. Summer might be waning but this summer jazz will keep the vibe going. Well done.

UNBOUNDED ABAAD: A wildly strange little record that mixes Sufi chants, prog rock, god knows what else and turns it into a modern head trip record that has way too much octane to be a trance trip and is too wild for opium den music. It's the cutting edge of something beyond our ken.

SIDEMEN: When one of the principles of this crew can claim a friendship with Bill Champlin that goes back to 1967, you know we aren't dealing with kids here. Everyone on board here whether in the group or a fellow traveler is a first class jazzbo that know all the right moves and how to hit all the right notes. This is a dazzling jazz/rock/funk excursion that is a good time, magic carpet ride that never let's you down. Tasty throughout, this is what the real deal is all about.
(Summit 787)

MISHA SEEFF/Dreamhaven: Here's a kid whose idea of nostalgia is early 2000s bands, from before he was born. Feel old yet? More influenced by chick singers than metal heads, it's a solid dose of kid stuff for kids--in inner ring suburbs.

DAVE ZINNI UNISPHERE/Fetish: Tired of jerks whining about being cooped up during the pandemic and bla bla bla? Zinno and his pals took the lockdown to really stir the pot with some high octane jazz that often sounds like maelstrom music--but always coloring inside the lines, somewhat. A real ear and mind opener, the pent up energy and emotion all went into the music and seems to come back out twice as hard. Like jazzbos on a mission, they seem like their own pandemic antidote. Blazingly hot stuff.
(Whaling City Sound 130)

JAKE BALDWIN/Where You're Planted: Since landing in the Twin Cities a decade ago, he's made it his own. The trumpeter not only has become a local jazz spark plug, he's done TV and video games from that base as well. An innovative leader, this is a post daddio jazzbo that just loves blowing up a storm. Tasty modern stuff that easily sets your ears on fire.
(Shifting Paradigm 168)

SHAKEY TRILL: One of those simply beautiful records that takes you back to someplace you probably didn't come from but just sets the mood so nicely... Two bluesmen that sound like they took their resonators and harmonicas to the campus coffeehouse and never left have really gotten it right. With a set list of mostly originals, these two originals sound like a first generation real thing ala Brownie and Sonny. It's authenticity makes it such a gasser.

EFRAT/We Just Need Love: Yes, there are fiddling alternatives to Lindsay Sterling. Efrat is firmly in the folkie/new age camp and has the chops under her belt to bring the vibe home authentically and realistically. Simple and from the heart, she has what it takes to connect with the distaff seeker looking to reach beyond the dross.

Volume 45/Number 300
August 27, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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