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SALIF KEITA/La Difference: The African voice of tolerance scores again with a set that shows you don't have to know what he's talking about and that passionate music is certainly the international language. A great listening record for those who have their world beat ears on and their minds set to open, Keita does a fine job here making this a fully formed, big sounding date that doesn't feel like protest music but really gets it's message across in the end anyway. The open eared should check this out.

RANEE LEE/Lives Upstairs: For all the people that Diana Krall has been compared to, no one has ever claimed her to be in the footsteps of Canada's contemporary reigning jazz diva. But damn, the opening groove and the soulful vocals are so right in the pocket that anyone who ever claimed she was aping Shirley Horn has never been to Canada. Currently a Juno winner beating out Krall and Carol Welsman, Lee shows the rest of us what we've been missing. Her first record in 30 years, Lee makes the most of things and claims her turf hard and fast. If you dig the contemporary crop of jazz divas but want to hear how it's really done, turn your ear in this direction. Lee just kills! A winner throughout.

DAVID'S ANGELS/Substar: From the land that brought you suicide, death metal and downer image laden films come some new arty death jazz where it takes developed chops, pares them down with minimalism and gives you something to revel in for those down time times. Haunting stuff that is sure to haunt you when you least expect it.

DR. LONNIE SMITH/Spiral: Smith's last for Palmetto was a killer funky return to form. Don't expect more of the same here. Tacking a set of oldies from various sectors, Smith brings the unexpected to the arrangements and the proceedings. No matter what you think and no matter what he does, this is all about a groove from a B3. Tasty stuff throughout that feels like a cocktail lounge on Mars when the joint is jumping.

JOE SOUTH/A Look Inside-So the Seeds are Growing: Two lost South albums now take their place alongside the wonderful digitalizing Raven has done to the rest of the South catalog. While tastes were changing when these swamp poppers came out in the early 70s, they were probably a victim of Capitol wishing to spend down the cross collaterization of South profits in suspense. With some singles and his first new recording in 35 years as a real added bonus, this is the completion of a wonderful catalog restoration. Just because he didn't chart with anything here, don't go thinking he had taken his eye off the ball as this fits right in with his highest octane hit records. A welcome return.

RETTA CHRISTIE/With David Evans and Dave Frishberg V. 2: Another trip down memory lane from up Oregon way by an old timey flavored vocalist where the great Frish gets room to indulge his old time fantasies with abandon. What a cool way to turn your headphones into the only cool, hotel piano bar in town.

VALENTINE'S DAY: Heavy duty chick ensemble pick with Garry Marshall's comedy touch at the wheel. Fluffy entertainment with interwoven story lines and some upbeat surprises that O. Henry bitch slap you right at the last second. Marshall made this with an eye toward having it play on TV forever and that gives it a lite sitcom underpinning that is a welcome move in the genre. With a dvd and a digital copy included, the chick pic fan in your life can always have this close by for solace when she's up for giving you a cold shoulder argument.
30546 (New Line)

INVICTUS: Clint Eastwood tries his hand at true life sports as Morgan Freeman's magic Negro comes to earth in the from of post-jail Nelson Mandela who's trying to unite his country with rugby. A heart tugger in the spirit of heart tugging sports pics, it's a lite guy pic with Eastwood backing off the politics and focusing on the human interest. Complete with a dvd and digital copy, the blu ray extras take you inside the making of the movie with real interactions.

Volume 33/Number 188
May 8, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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