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JUST A BAND/82: Eh, the revolution in Kenya happened almost 30 years ago, now it's time for the digital revolution as this band created the first viral video sensation to come from Kenya. Soaked in trance with the addition of melody, those cats over there in that part of the world love that trance stuff and here you can actually hear personality rather than wonder what sets this apart from so much other trance. A new college kid extravaganza, this is way out stuff that takes shoe gaze to a whole new level, as well as whole new country.

DAVID SMITH QUINTET/Anticipation: The rising trumpet ace builds a new record around the apprehension that comes with being a new father and the speed bumps that comes in the wake that keep things from running smoothly. Would I have known this is the bio sheet didn't tell me? Probably not. I would know it's a heartfelt, hard charging date from a rising star and his seasoned, long time crew. The sax doesn't take the place of vocals, but it certainly sings out expressively. You don't have to be too left leaning in your downtown tastes to get it and basically, this is solid post-bop/straight ahead date that is pure listening jazz but doesn't have to be taken sitting down. Solid work throughout with a genuine New York feel even if Smith is from Canada.

REGGIE WATTS/Why $#!+ So Crazy: You don't think comedy can be pomo? Toss some Lenny Bruce, George Carlin and Wu Tang Clan into the blender and you get this off color sidekick of Conan O'Brien that has been grabbing all kinds of underground notice and awards. Amazingly, with the censored title, it doesn't come with a parental sticker (so will we be seeing this at Target?), this hipster from Mars has the genre blender on high, and even if it's over the top, you don't have to be high or young to get it, just ready to laugh into the dark corners. One of those cutting edge records that's not made for everyone but has a wider appeal than stiffs might think, it comes in a cd-dvd combo pack so you can get the full assault at once. The material is the same on both versions. Real comedy fans will know this isn't a flash in the pan. Provocative stuff that works.

JULIUS PITTMAN & the Revival/Bucket List: Veterans of the Virginia beach music scene with a healthy dose of Memphis soul in their mix, this isn't a retro soul band per se, but damn if they don't kick it into gear sounding like a lost Stax/Malaco goodie. Atmospheric set that takes you to a time and place as much as it takes you to a sound, deep Southern soul fans have a real treat waiting for them here. If this is up your alley, be sure to give it a spin as it hit's the spot.

FOOTSTEPS IN AFRICA/soundtrack: Having once been to the Sahara, I can tell you the people there know how to make something from nothing. Now, almost a quarter century later, with technology even reaching the far reaches, the nomads, and other desert inhabitants have been visited by top djs that take the sound that keeps them from going totally nuts in the hot sun and turn it into something wildly something else as the soundtrack for the documentary this is from. Kicking off like a tribal/healing record, this is a wondrous throw back to the Folkways Explorer years when the world was a lot bigger and the opportunities a lot more primitive. Whether world beater or uber trance hipster, the sound of the desert is now in your headphones. While it isn't the stuff of chart toppers, the old/new fusion is certainly a wild version of contemporary head music. Wild stuff.

PATRICK STANFIELD JONES/A Heart and an Open Road: A set that's out of the ordinary considering Motema's jazz output, this vet roadhouse rocker serves it up in the style that you would expect from a contemporary sidekick of Commander Cody. Hard hitting, straight up rock they way we used to like it before arena/hair band rock ruled the earth. A kick ass set of mostly originals where the writing and the performance let you forget about everything but having a good time. It might not be deep but it sure is wide. Fun stuff throughout that you should wrap your ears around now.

MARIA NECKAM/Deeper: A singer with a jazzbo soul, Neckam takes the road less traveled that veers between chanteuse and art type. With a vibe that feels like contemporary/future cabaret, Neckam is making material that will resonate with college girls looking toward the rainbow and wondering what lies on the other side. A smart diversion from a cookie that you better not expect to crumble.

BRUCE BARTH-STEVE WILSON/Home: The new paradigm is upon us once again. We're always impressed with minimalist looking records that sound like there's more going on that it looks like on paper. Now it goes to the next level of the game. This duo traveled out to Missouri for a living room concert for the real faithful, and left the tape running. Well, you know this is going to have an intimate sound but it goes deeper than that. This isn't something that was thrown together by some well meaning bozos. We Always Swing has been a certified non-profit since 1995 and they aren't newbies at what they do. This non-record is the new kind of record. Both Wilson and Barth give each other plenty of room to strut when they need to and play together like simpatico old pros the rest of the time. As enjoyable as a naked (as in playing with no place to hide) piano/sax duo can be Barth was even hyped up enough to write some new material especially for this show, and it's high octane stuff. This is a new experience the mainstream jazzbo can enjoy on so many levels that he's missing the boat to miss this warm, intimate date where you really are there. Well done.

Volume 33/Number 185
May 5, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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