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JOYCE COBB with the Michael Jefry Steven Trio: Well traveled Memphis lady testifies as she kicks it out on the opening track "Moanin'" and lets it fly from there on a wildly mixed bag that let's everyone shine as it all comes together. Not exactly a blues date, it's a powder keg of southern soul that this lady knows how to ignite. A high octane wild ride.

FAY CLAASSEN/Sing: The Europeans do it differently than we do. This is a swinging, jazz singer that mines the oldies, but she isn't afraid to dig in the crates for something beyond the pale and she isn't afraid to add Bjork and Joni Mitchell to the ‘oldies' mix. With the WDR Big Band swinging along like they are under the baton of Nelson Riddle when he's working his heart out because all five of his kids need shoes yesterday, this is a delightful, swinging affair. Claassen delivers a full voice, full bodied performance and she's cooking throughout. Well done.

WHO NEEDS JOHNNY: The spirit of Kim Fowley lives on as these two cuties come on with the cock rock even though they are sweet faced SoCal honeys. Punk via mainstream rock with new energy hovering throughout. Could be something new.

MICHELE CHIONIERE/La Violette: Look, all the French I know is from listening to "Lady Marmelade" so this gringo doesn't know what this Frenchy is up to, but it doesn't matter, she's really from Vermont and traverses the Can-Am border sounding out he French sound. A traditional song record, this sounds like the kind of charming foreign language record you'd find at Starbucks a decade ago before Hear Music blew to smithereens. In an offbeat way, this set is kind of like a Pentangle record you don't understand the words to as she does the olde, traditional ballads that tell the stories of hardships and triumphs from times longe ago. She knows her stuff and that's what counts. Arriving just in time for Bastille Day (yeah, I know which has now past), this is fun stuff probably since it's delivered in the right hands. A shining example of the world beat that exists within our borders.

EDDIE TURNER/Miracles & Demons: Blues/r&b with an Afro-Cuban vibe as it spins out tales about love in all it's forms. Blues and love that done me wrong ain't nothing new but the different urban edge to it here is a new spin on an old cycle. We might be witnessing the rise of a blues malcontent contingency. There's some pretty heavy talent on board so check it out if you are looking for something that shakes things up a bit.

BRASS MENAZERI/Vranjski San: A while back I met some guy that was trying to jump start Balkan folk music with a twist and I wished him good luck. Haven't heard from him a while, but there's been a lot of Balkan music since then and the nuttier it gets, the more I like it. Here's a crew that sounds like they heard about my advise along the way. A genre splicing brass outfit, they genre splice like there's no tomorrow and some how get away with it in ways Herb Alpert could have only dreamed. It might not be mainstream music but it is the kind of stuff that if you hear it live when you were a little high, you would be a believer. A wild ride you shouldn't be reluctant to take as it does serve up a thrill a minute.

CHRISTINE BREWER/Great Strauss Scenes: The opera maven of the 20th century gets a solid work out from this star soprano as she doles out the greatest hits treatment to some scenes from "Elektra", "Capriccio" "Salome" and more. With a well rounded bass-baritone as her foil and Donald Runnicles doing a bang up job leading the Atlanta Symphony, opera lovers may have to deal with opera records of the future being treated like pop records in their presentation, but there's nothing to fault here on any count. Non moldy figs will get it, especially since Brewer had yet to deliver a false note.

WD-41+2/Temi Per Cinema: The core duo adds some pals just to make things wilder and deeper. Any fan of uber left field progressive music that takes it's roots in Zappa and Crimson but knows no limits once it starts growing will be right at home here. A sonic jungle that you have to navigate on your own, this is wild stuff to trip to on today's designer drug of choice.

Volume 33/Number 257
July 17, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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