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CHRIS GRAHAM TRIO/After Birth of Cool: We're always happy to welcome a snappy new vibe player to the fold and this cat sounds like he has a sound all his own that really makes this stand out. Wonderfully atmospheric yet swinging, Graham captures a moment that you would really like to put in a bottle with his playing. Easy to take and well off the beaten path but far from weird, this is quite the pleasant diversion that you will feel fine about moving to the foreground.

MICHAEL C. LEWIS/Reflection: Young trumpeter with a solid sense of the past and an eye toward the future turns in a solid, smoking contemporary jazz date that is loaded with it's own personality even when you know it's following in Miles' footsteps (lip prints?). With the best of the seventies attitude of jazz/funk at it's core, this is a fine display of chops that have been simmering long enough and are now ready to be served. Easy to enjoy even if you are a lightweight jazzbo looking to get your feet a little wetter.

DAVE ANDERSON & MIKE WINGO/Conversations: How many times were you passing through Nordstrom's or a Ritz Carlton and you heard a cat playing in there that you knew was just too hip for the room and you were compelled to stop and listen to him? Anderson had a five year gig at a Ritz and he is a traffic stopper. Playing in a piano/percussion duo here, Anderson and his long time cohort Wingo have the chops and simpatico to make something so simple sound so deep and full. By nature, this has to be sitting down jazz, but it's the kind of sound that insures the form has a good name and vibe. Dead solid perfect stuff that just doesn't miss. Clearly a winning set.

BOBBY AVEY/A New Face: Art jazz that swings from a young lion that has played with the pros as well as his contemporaries. Fun stuff that opens the ears to new horizons, that's for sure. Avey is the kind of cat you are compelled to keep an ear on if this debut is any indication of things to come. A genre bender in unexpected ways, Avey is on the ball and on the money knowingly serving up tasty ear soufflés that don't fall down. Well done.

SUSIE HANSEN/Representante de la Salsa: Electric, Latin violinist Hansen simply takes way too long between albums. One every ten years or so, indeed. The caliente doesn't dim in the interims. Another zesty set that's a party on a platter, Hansen knows how to get the party started and her crew knows how to keep it going. Without a false note anywhere, this might just be the perfect summer record this year. Hot stuff you can't put out.

CHRIS WASHBURNE and the SYOTOS Band/Fields of the Moons: With one of the longest running Latin jazz gigs running in New York, this crew doesn't take anything for granted and continues to push the envelope to be sure to take their long time fans on a thrill ride that doesn't stop. Washburne fuses some of his prime passions into a quieter mix that makes this a different kind of after hours set. Full of killer listening, gringos will feel like they are going native after a few rounds with this collection. Fun throughout.

YELENA ECKEMOFF/Cold Sun: There's ECM music lingering beyond the ECM gates. Perhaps the bleakest picture of winter since "Reds", this Russian composer paints her impressionistic portrait as only one afraid of being sent to Siberia can do. A first rate piece of modern, chamber jazz for the sitting down jazz lover.

DAVE WILSON QUARTET/Spiral: I can remember the first time I got records from Omnisound and I couldn't figure out what the hell the Delaware Water Gap was. While driving down the road some time later, there was a turn off on I-80 for Delaware Water Gap. I got off expecting to find something akin to the world's largest ball of twine. It was a town. Have a laugh on me. And that area seems to still be fertile for jazz if this set that springs from the central Pennsylvania area is any proof. Snappy modern jazz that you don't have to be a hard core hipster to enjoy. With a swinging, after hours feel, this is a cooking date fueled by local luminaries that are having a great time. It sounds like you will too. Check it out.

Volume 33/Number 249
July 9, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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