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SUNNY JAIN/Taboo: Hipster jazz fused with his native Indian vibes takes this into a new kind of hipster territory where there's elements of basement jazz, sitting down jazz and future jazz all rolled into one. You have to have left leaning tastes to fully appreciate what this drumming pro is up to, but if something approximating smooth Indian jazz sounds intriguing to you, you're half way home already. It's an ear opener in a very pleasant way.

PIERRE DE GAILLANDE/Bad Reputation: Forget Gainsborough, forget Hallyday, even forget Piaf. Georgres Brassens was one of the biggest pop stars in France but was totally unknown here. Why? This guy was probably Leonard Cohen's secret influence. Totally off the wall dive into a world of losers only Cohen and Charles Bukowski could fathom, this set that sounds like it was recorded on modern equipment during the Weimar Republic and is just the tonic for fans of Cohen that find everyone who came in his wake a mere manqué. Played with the kind of passion that comes only from a work of love, this is audio slumming at it's finest. Hop on here for a completely wild ride.

BOB MAMET TRIO/Impromptu: What's there to say? A killer piano man, Bill Evans' drummer and a bass ace that's an MVP get together for a piano trio date where they just have fun, swing and kick out the jams. In a word, it's FUN and nothing more. Without a wasted note in the bunch, this crew serves up classic jazz trio work without making it sound like old man jazz. A great listening date in any setting, this set has it all on the ball and mainstream jazz fans can use it as a cudgel to beat naysayers over the head when they turn up their nose at the notion of mainstream. This is a winner throughout.

JUSTIN JANER/Following Signs: It's always a gas when someone gets grant money and makes a record that might be loaded with sitting down jazz but isn't just some fiffle for the Art crowd. Janer is a young pro that's been around and played with the best and he's more than learned how to get the most from his sax. Sitting down jazz from LA by way of Seattle, a young lion that knows how to make you listen kicks his recording career of with this auspicious debut that is a forerunner of the heights he'll be hitting in due course. Well done and welcome aboard.

WATERMELON SLIM/Ringers: A real left fielder even for Americana/blues, Slim kicks ass like you wouldn't believe here. With a crew of the best of the Nashville underground on board, this is a great sounding record that manages to find Slim front and center of a three ring circus that comes together with great precision. Whether you were a Kinky Friedman fan the first time around or a dyed in the wool 3A/Americana hound, this ‘country' album from this way out blues man is the new defining high water mark for insurgent country. Killer set from start to finish.

PAUL CARR/Straight ahead Soul: While everyone knows New York sax, there's healthy strains in Detroit, Chicago and Texas---where Carr's seeds were planted. Influenced by the great Texas sax men, Carr soaked up the regional sound, assembled a collection of session and side cats that aren't known for playing together but know how to play and know how to hit it on the one, and all deliver an updated version of the soul/jazz groove date that was such a welcome fixture 40 years ago. Must hearing for anyone in need of a gasser.

STEVE DAVIS/Images: Still in his 30s, this bone man has done it all already and learned from the best along the way. Whether in One for All or on his own, he's a cat that knows how to swing, how to improvise and how to hold your attention with a solid display of chops that engage, not overwhelm. A tasty, straight ahead date of all originals that sound familiar but take you somewhere new. Check it out.

PINETOP PERKINS & WILLIE "BIG EYES" SMITH/Joined at the Hip: Ah, the kind of record you used to hope would escape from Delmark except with the better budget and better recording technique. Who has come to who's level? With Smith handling most of the vocals and the 97 year old piano man shows his blues pedigree throughout, this is pure, old fashioned barrelhouse blues from the post industrial revolution/northern migration in uncut fashion that's got the Chicago west side dripping off it at every turn. Killer stuff for classic blues fans and blues tourists that want to get in touch with the real deal. Hot.

Volume 33/Number 205
May 25, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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