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BASCOM HILL: Well loved Wisconsin power popsters hit the studio for their second album with an array of behind the glass talent that's worked with everyone that will make your eyes, as well as your ears, pop. With their big fish in a small pond status assured, they go for the big sound here that will either break them out or break them apart. Hard hitting stuff for power pop fans tired of the typical horseshit that radio is jamming down their throats. An 80s vibe runs through it but this isn't retro or nostalgia.

HARVIE S/Cocolamus Bridge: This bassman has been able to step up and hit them to all fields for over 30 years and he isn't about to lose his eclecticism now. With a new Texas jazz crew, he opens up sounding like Ry Cooder on bass and let's things flow from there. A solidly creative date that has killer chops at the core that the players don't allow themselves to trip over, sitting down jazz has a new flag to wave here. This is one creative cat that should never be taken for granted as this lovely audio painting is top shelf stuff throughout.

STANLEY CLARKE BAND: Lenny White is on board from the past, Hiromi is on board from the future and fusion for the new century is off to a good start. A densely packed date that has more than three streams running through it, Clarke has a veritable history of jazz at his finger tips. While this is his show all the way, there's a lot more going on here than just plunking on four strings. Solid sitting down jazz that has moments of getting you to leap out of your seat with visions of romantic warriors from the seventh galaxy dancing in your head.

LAWRECNE LEBO/Don't Call Her Larry V. 3-American Roots: This delightfully eclectic vocalist takes another left turn on her latest set card digging up more of a blues and folk set card than on past efforts. With a very intimate, close in feel to the recording, Lebo is right in the room with you delivering a personal, up close performance that takes you back to the blue lights in the basement vibe and makes you want to say things like ‘daddio'. A solid diversion that proudly goes it's own way, Lebo is in control of her action and it's a smart move for the listener to sit back and let her do her thing if those ears want to derive maximum enjoyment. Well done.

DAVE ANDERSON QUARTET/Clarity: A sax man that's been at it for a while makes his debut recording with a lot of miles under his belt. Learning lessons equally from the smooth jazz ranks as well as the masters, he knows how to lead, how to lay out and how to write catchy melodies with some meat on the bone. Somewhat deeper than bizjazz but accessible to any cougar trying to pass for a hipster, this is the fun side of jazz that invites you to party.

ROLAND VAZQUEZ BAND/The Visitor: Give this vet credit for getting funding from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music and making a big band date that feels true to Copland's vision and vibe. A large, sweeping date, this is one of those jazz/Americana dates that exists in an interesting hybrid zone where it isn't jazz into classical, isn't quite NAC, isn't quite Americana but is something that has what it takes to please all. With an undeniably delightful vibe powering things along throughout, Vazquez not only has a winner here, this date is one for the ages for quality, instrumental music fans. Hot stuff.

RITA EDMOND/A Glance at Destiny: A classy vocalist with some real jazzbos in tow and a familiar yet fun set card adds up to a kicking back good time from an under the radar pro that knows how to deliver. A Vegas lounge experience without the douche bags hanging around, Edmond simply is a good time throughout. Check it out.

LISA DOWNING/Delicate Balance: Oy, with all the bored, suburban moms out there that think they can be new age solo pianists, it's nice to have a reformed metal head that found the light through some Christianity to show the way home. A lovely player, Downing seems to instinctually have it right in the pocket as this has no noodling, gratuitous riffing or filler parading as profundity. Just solid piano/instrumental work, Downing is one of those players that fills the presence just by herself, and it's all you need. Well played adult listening for discerning ears in need of that audio respite.

Volume 33/Number 236
June 25 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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