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VINCENT HERRING & Earth Jazz/Morning Star: Oh, screw appealing the kids that don't care. Herring rolls it back to the jazz funk of the mid 70s when he was 10 years old and grooving to it. With a heavy dose of "Headhunters" vibe running through this for a sax lead date, the good vibes are in tact and flowing. Not retro, not nostalgic, just respect for the great stuff. Check it out.

DANA LAUREN/It's You or No One: Interesting young jazz vocal diva variation going on here. Lauren has well digested and understood the classics but she gives them a personal pomo stamp. With a load of downtown all stars stroking the pomo fire as well as unassailable ringers brought in to bottom it out for the snobs, Lauren resets the clock on cocktail hour. The genre and the style have just gotten a well deserved kick in the pants. Thanks, Dana.

LAUREN KINHAN/Avalon: Soprano spark plug of New York Voices and other New York vocal ensembles realizes that she's been in New York for over 20 years and her solo career has never really gotten the attention she meant to give it. With a cool New York vocal vibe, this is a contemporary jazz vocal outing where she handles the writing on her own as well. Meant as listening jazz and succeeding handily, even though these are new songs with a heavy art jazz slant, she keeps you interested and in the pocket because she has the chops and she remembers what it is to entertain. In case you ever wondered just where the line is that divides art and artsy, this set will show you how to plant a flag firmly on the art side. Well done.

ROBIN McKELLE/Mess Around: Taking a break from her jazz vocal diva track, McKelle gets in touch with her inner Bonnie Bramlett and let's fly as a white girl that has the gumption to want to sound black. Bringing Fred Wesley and Houston Person around to add some soul and funk to this girl from Rochester that has probably never been to Alton, the result a great load of vocal fun if you appreciate this kind of sound. It moves, it grooves and this party never stops. Check it out.

RANDY KLEIN/Sunday Morning: What's the fun of being a label owner if you can't set the agenda and do some playing as well. Jazzheads' boss slips behind the keys to be the sideman to some improvisers in the first of a planned series of sets that highlight different vibes. Working with a sax and a bone this time around, Klein takes it back to those college days of suburban experimentation when it was off beat but not too far out and it wound down the weekend nicely. Improv lite for those that want it out of the ordinary but not having it be work to listen to.

ERIC FELTEN/Seize the Night: Hands down, here's a youngish jazz vocalist that understands what it is to be an artist made for PBS in this day and age. Seizing the opportunity as well as the night, this singing bone man rounds up a first call crew of vet jazzbos for a proper roll through a set of classics given the proper classic treatment. Surprise, he's written a bunch of these ‘classics' but he knows how to make them fit the format like they were to the era born. Not a manqué in the least, this cat has it all on the ball and delivers the kind of set you keep saying they just don't make anymore. A killer throughout.

PHIL SARGENT/A New Day: This guitar date is exactly what we are looking for when we want a lite jazz date with some bite and character. The playing, the vibe, the coloration and the attitude are just what the car stereo demands on weekends when the moving is easy and the traveling light. Tasty fun that doesn't want to be anything other than a good time that can be enjoyed by all. It doesn't really have to be Weather Report every time out, does it?

HECTOR MARTIGNON/Second Chance: Every time this Latin jazz piano pro makes a cd it gets nominated for a Grammy, or wins one, or so it seems. This is Martignon's mulligan album in which he's revisiting songs he's loved that he's felt never got their proper due. We're not familiar with a lot of the original renditions so it's not for us to say, but if you want some first class caliente piano/ensemble work that goes a long way in writing the book on Latin jazz, you won't hear the places that makes this a do over. Zesty and sure to get these songs the attention Martignon thinks they deserve, get ready for a good time to be had by all.

Volume 33/Number 201
May 21, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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