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JOHN BUNCH/Do Not Disturb: The recently departed Bunch caps a career that found him with Herman, Rich, Krupa, Goodman and Bennett with a jumping trio date that was recorded as one of his last acts. Always much more then a sideman, he really struts his stuff here, front and center, for a delightful straight ahead jazz romp. Simply a fun, fluid recording that will be a grand way to remember him. Well done.

EVAN CHRISTOPHER/Remembering Song: A delightful anomaly of a record in that Christopher stirs up a bunch of originals that sound so familiar in their old timey-ness that it's going to drive you crazy figuring out where you know these songs from. A migrant to Nawlins right before Katrina as he came there with his clarinet in search of the sound, this crazy set will remind you of every cartoon you ever loved as well of some sweet tooting on the licorice stick that will have you falling right in line. Subtly out of the ordinary, this is the kind of set that really gets in your blood. A fine time throughout.

BRYAN & THE Haggards/Pretend it's the End of the World: This avant country Merle Haggard cover band sounds like the SNL Band not playing together while playing together. A total deconstruction of Hag that goes well with mind melting drugs just as they are kicking in, this record will make perfect sense if you are in your 30s and are still into pissing off your parents.

MARK LOMAX TRIO/State of Black America: Dust off your old BYG Records to prepare for this trip back to some civil rights jazz that turns the skornk up high, often and early. This drummer led trio has some serious anger to work out that really comes through in the music. If Henry Rollins and Gil Scott-Heron were to agree to a slam, this would be the ideal back up band for the proceedings.

CINDY BULLENS/Howling Trains and Barking Dogs: Ms. Bullens has certainly had an interesting life and career, and its far from over yet. Turning in a roots date that is what am, Bullens vaults to the top of the heap with a date that's loaded with good vibes from share pickers, co-writers and good pals. It doesn't seem like there's a note here that isn't from the heart and it just shows you can produce an Americana monster without T-Bone Burnett hanging around. If you love the genre, this is must hearing. If you just want to hear some quality adult rock, this is the place as well. Check it out.

ELLEN HONERT/Hummingville: We're kind of a sucker for an album of art jazz that isn't powered by the tortured artist effect. With a bunch of songs by Honert leading the way, this is a delightful contemporary jazz vocal set that kicks it off in high gear and keeps moving a pace. Honert isn't contemplating her navel or thinking in half finished thoughts. With an alto that doesn't sound smoke damaged and a perspective that seems to match her persona, this world traveler doesn't bring you back world jazz, this is straight ahead stuff right on the money. A winning treat to kick off summer with.

CONTACT/Five on One: Sure, it's called contact because calling this jazz crew Liebman, Abercrombie, Copland, Gress and Hart makes it sound too much like a law firm that advertises on late night TV. The youngster in this bunch is already in his 50s, and although they play easy-ish jazz, they aren't playing old man jazz. With a freedom to improvise that comes with a simpatico history, this crew knows how to play like one even if they are all leaders in their own rights. Solid sitting down jazz that beats almost anything cable has to offer these days. Check it out.

RICHARD BLAKE/Plays Midtown at Midnight: Some of our fave musical finds have been the hard working, unsung cats toiling away at hotel bars and lounges, night after night, honing their craft to people who don't notice and don't care. Jersey guitarist Blake probably falls right in that category. A master of the jazzy, after hours guitar, Blake delivers a lounge flavored set that you can categorize as background music that is really so much more. A nicely mixed bag of popular tunes, this set is just waiting to turn your deck into the bar you always want to hang out at. Killer stuff, so subtle and so intriguing.

Volume 33/Number 209
May 29, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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