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MARY SCHOLZ/Begin Again: If you've been around a while, the first thing that strikes you about Scholz third album is that it's loaded with the kind of polish major labels used to lavish on an artist after a few years of artist development. A classily crafted package that positions this singer/songwriter on the left side of the Americana dial, she does a mighty job of speaking to the college girl seeking her own Joni Mitchell. This is a fine example of how to come out of the gate strong.
(KZZ 1009)

MIKKEL PLOUG/Day in the Sun: A solo classical guitarist that seems to be a beneficiary of the classic ECM cool school delivers his second album along the same lines without it feeling like an exercise in more of the same. Certainly music for the mind, he wasn't even born when "Friday Night in San Francisco" came out but he could have been The Trio's opening act. Smart music not for eggheads only.
(Songlines 1635)

JAN HAMMER/Seasons Pt. 2: It's a simple equation. Add Hammer + electronics + a properly serviced circuit breaker box and get out of the way. Adding his endless imagination to the project, you get an album you're glad he only made us wait four years for instead of a decade like the one before this. Sterling jazz rock that knows how to run the table, this set will only amaze you that he does it all himself if you don't know him from before. A real smoker.
(Red Gate 92914)

INTELLIGENT MUSIC PROJECT VII/Unconditioned: A pretty damned fine prog jazz rock set conceived by people that know the value of entertainment. Without themes or sturm and drang, the energy here goes into pushing grandeur to higher and higher heights. Even when falling into some prog tropes and clichés, they are ultimately woven into the fabric and feel at home. Anyone with some 70s rocker's DNA coursing in the veins will get this easily.

ABIGALIL HUANG/Chick Corea's Childrens Songs: How much more of a cohesive statement can you get than having a miniature prodigy that's already conquered Carnegie Hall conquer this set of Corea miniatures? With so much on the ball, one hearing of this will make your kid quit piano lessons on the spot. A tasty set that's not a novelty, you'll be hearing from this young ‘un for a good long time to come.

ANDY McCOY/Jukebox Junkie: A blues rock power trio version of Nanci Griffith's "Other Voices" album by the former lead of Hanoi Rocks? Oh, why not. From glam rocker to left of center blues rocker, McCoy waxes a boatload of his fave tunes loading the deck with tracks he thinks should be your faves as well. Kind of a gift shop record for millenials but not quite, it's certainly not essential but it is a lot of fun.
(Cleopatra 3113)

FLASH/In the USA: A load of live Flash from the past that chronicles the best of their US tours of their two year golden period. From a time when bands stayed at the Riot House, threw TVs out the windows, had roadies that culled jail boat from the crowd to go back stage and never really knew where they would be waking up the next morning, Peter Banks took his guitar from the Yes fold and set off to conquer the world with his own prog hard rock. The albums had cool covers and the records were smooth for the times. The stage bills showing the gatefold show how little thought there was in career development and that everything was just thrown against the wall to see if it stuck. It might not have been right back then but it was fun. These three discs will give you all you need to make you feel like you were there, sweating it out with the crew as they tried to grab the brass ring.
(Think Like a Key 1130)

BEN SIDRAN/Swing State: Why do I dig this album? A long time ago, I went to a club to see Mose Allison and I was the only one in the audience. Allison turned to me and said "I have to play whether anyone is here or not. If you know the words, you can come up and sing with me. Hell, you can do all the singing." This instrumental trio set feels like the evening I spent jamming with Sidran's hero, Allison. The 78 year old, his 50 year sidekick and his 45 year old son kick it out on material from the 30s that doesn't feel at all out of time and place under his touch. With long time sidekick Mike Cuscana notating the journey inside the fold, the cat that had Bruce Vilanch going ape over his society jazz half a world away ago sounds like he's just hitting his stride now. I guess when you own the label, you don't have to deal with the kind of label politics that can turn salmagundi to swill. Good taste is timeless and so is a real sense of swing. Check this out.
(Nardis 220501)

DIANE DURRETT/Put a Lid on It: In another time and place, Durrett would have been the white artist that broke through on Stax or Malaco. Performing the incredible feat of blossoming on her own in a DIY world, she lets the soul flow freely here, often taking it to church without remorse or repentance, and shakes you awake throughout. A do it all gal from Atlanta that shows she's knows how to hit it out of the park Southern style, this is one essential vocalist.
(Blooming Tunes)

A SPIKE PERKINS CONNECTION/Up in Carrollton: Longtime Nawlins scenester rounds up some pals and some songs from various styles to kick out the jams and let you know he's still around. Indigenous fun that brings the gumbo of various heats and let's the good times roll. A party that just runs a little short at only 5 songs.

KYLE AHO/Rituals: A piano man that wants to take flights of fancy into other realms goes kind of mystical here. All the playing by him and his pals is right on but it sometimes becomes a strange mix up of seventh galaxy lite. When people open up that Pandora's box of mystical, you never know what's going to come out or who's going to hear it.
(OA2 22205)

ROBERT DIACK/Small Bridges: A drummer with impressionistic sensibilities and wide ranging tastes comes up a nu kind of fusion of his own that doesn't let the listener put him in small boxes. A cat with a cinematic mind, this is a solid listening date that's best enjoyed when you can sink into it and find all the nuances hidden in the bytes. Well done.

WENDY & DB/Into the Little Blue House: First we find ourselves being synch with Dick Cheney and now we get a totally legit modern blues album with Chicago blues cats for kids?!?! What did I miss? Utterly charming and professionally done stuff by long time pros that haven't got the time to mess around or do it over, if this isn't a great album and a great introduction for modern kids to get into the blues, I don't know what is. When I look back at all the kid music that sucked when I was a kid....

Volume 46
August 6, 2022
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL. 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2022 Midwest Record

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