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TIMES 4/Eclipse: Think of all your fave smooth jazz crews that color just outside the lines following their interests into funk, world, whatever and how much you enjoyed them in their prime. Times 4 takes you back to that state of mind with their vibe, but their sound and attitude is purely their own. Jazzy cats with contemporary outside the lines interests, they know how to cook up a righteously good yuppie time---the perfect audio compliment for those whose 401k's haven't been blown apart and whose mortgages aren't under water. The clear and crisp sonics add to the festivities as this sounds great no matter what you're listening to it on. By all means, check it out.

GEORGE DUKE/Déjà Vu: With all those George Duke reissues bubbling up recently, Duke would be a fool not to revisit the funky days of olde, especially since it was fun music and there's nothing new under the sun going on now anyway. Taking the vibe back to his synthesizer days without revisiting the old tunes, Duke was a great go to guy then and he's kept his chops in top form. Deceptively challenging listening, Duke has aged gracefully and is playing for an audience that has done the same and will appreciate the sound. High octane stuff throughout.

JAMES MOODY/Moody 4B: Please hold on while I enthuse a ‘goddamn' to get that out of my system. This is the companion piece to a similarly stunning Moody set that was released around this time last year. These sides are from the same session. Sneaking up on his 85thh birthday at the end of the month, Moody might be the king of old man jazz but he doesn't play it like an old man. One of the last few of his generation that is still around to deliver, if you don't find this to be an absolute high water mark of straight ahead jazz, you need to have your ears checked. Hopping, bopping killer stuff that delivers all the goods all the way through.

GEORGE COTSIRILOS TRIO/Past Present: One of the cool things about the deconstruction of the record business is that ace players that are stars in little provinces and parishes have just as much chance to get their stuff heard far and wide as any body. With distribution decentralized, the playing field is leveled. What a boon for Bay area guitarist Cotsirilos and us as this vet of over 20 years of Bay area plucking gets the chance to get the word out to the rest of us. A killer jazz guitar trio date, everyone gets the chance to show off the chops they've been honing locally to appreciative audiences for far too long. Full blooded, up market hipster, sitting down jazz that makes it all right to have egghead tendencies is what's on display here. Tasty listening stuff that just might make all the irritating small talk whirling on around you come to a stop. Check it out.

TEENY TUCKER/Keep the Blues Alive: An interesting mix of chops and skillful use of iconography, this daughter of the blues (Tommy Tucker) delivers just exactly what we want from a hard core, rollicking, bluesy hot mama. With a gutsy, lusty delivery that could make a Janis Joplin blush, Tucker is on the money throughout showing how and why she's been building an under the radar career that feels like it's on the launch pad and ready to take it's moon shot. Hard hitting, hard core, hot and heavy real deal blues that'll really get you going. The throttle is wide open here! You bet your ass she's got her mojo working.

JAMIE OUSLEY/Back Home: Delightful easy jazz listening date that doesn't have artistic pretensions, just good, upbeat jazz at the core. With pros like Ira Sullivan and Ed Calle contributing some licks beyond Ousley and his core cats, this set is right on the money throughout serving up summertime jazz done just to the right turn with just the right amount of au jus. Fun stuff that really works well.

ART PEPPER/Unreleased Art V. 5-Stuttgart May 25,1981: One of the great hipster, underground jazz series keeps pulling it's weight with this new release, a double cd of a 1981 concert when the four piece gang was in fine form. The comeback trio was two years on the road and this ‘recording' was made by the same fan that made volume 3 in this series. Simply full bore, top notch playing by a crew that owns the material and knows how to deliver. While there's nothing ‘new' here, these are performances that showcased a moment in time as these tunes wouldn't be played the same way again. Certainly a must for Pepper fans but a great introduction to classic jazz for those looking for an entry point as well. Well done.

MARK SHERMAN QUINTET/Live at Sweet Rhythm: And now the age of the video record is upon us. A DVD you can put in the lap top and just listen to in the background without the visuals, this is a dandy document of this jazzbo crew of hitters that's been tearing it up over the last half decade. Straight ahead jazz isn't something you really have to watch, but it can be pretty nice to randomly fire up a window from the tray and catch this bunch in a run where they are really cooking. The music here is the real show, and it the end, it's what really counts. A mainstream delight.

Volume 33/Number 210
May 30, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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