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THE EITHER/ORCHESTRA/Mood Music for Time Travelers: We haven't heard from this bunch for a while and they've been off doing some world traveling and solo recording in the meanwhile while continuing to hone chops that have been refined over 25 years as an aggregation. A delightfully left leaning big band date and crew, there is something underlying this date that takes in the world of progressive music, as well as the sound of the world, as it wends it's merry way. You don't have to be a pork pie hat wearing hipster to get it, but it probably doesn't hurt. This music might push the boundaries, but it doesn't do it with a stick that hurts. Tasty, open eared music that sitting down jazz fans with an ear cocked to tomorrow will find quite the tonic. Asymmetrical jazz fans ought to check it out.

DARRELL KATZ & the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra/A Wallflower in the Amazon: There are young cats that know their Kenton and Russo as well as they know their Rod Stewart and somehow have a way to display it all in an organic fashion that takes it to the limit. Whether getting into art jazz or letting their rocking blues side show and bringing in Mike Finnegan to help, this is a sitting down extravaganza of a date that careens like a roller coaster without making you want to puke before docking back at home. It's going to take you places you haven't been before and the trip can be quite compelling and rewarding.

KLEZWOODS/Oy Yeah: The leader of this crew has had his fiddle heard with everyone from Morphine to the Led Zep ‘reunion' tour, and everyone that ever played in the Northeast. This handpicked crew of left leaning musos is playing for the sheer joy of it, delivering a zesty world beat outing, mostly middle eastern flavored, that the armchair traveler and the open eared will dig in a big way. The best way to classify this date is to classify it under ‘joyful noise'. The players are on the money throughout and deliver a wonderful set that keeps the party going.

GREG BURK-VINCENTE LEBRON/Unduality: A delightful, non linear record from two renegade members of Either/Orchestra serving up a different piano/percussion take on some well known Bach themes. The familiarity of the pieces juxtaposed with the inventions the two cook up take the classic tradition of ‘in the tradition of' and turn it out before they turn it loose. Creative music from a duo that fill your ears with a much larger sound, the adventurous ears have a winner on board here.

ANDREW & NOAH VAN NORSTRAND/All the Good Summers: These brothers have been tearing it up on the back 40 for a while now. Why they chose a pic for the inside liner that makes them look like members of some wacky cult in flyover land does the music a disservice as the casual listener might be put off. Organic bluegrass/Americana to the left of Nickel Creek, the playing is a real treat of the first order. That young bloods are making indie music like this to stand on it's own shows there's a hunger for organic music that is done right. Smart stuff that's just going to keep bubbling under but bubbling up at the same time as well.

HEY MAVIS/Red Wine: It's not at all twee and it was produced in Don Dixon's basement just a few months after he ‘discovered' them on a various artist xmas sampler. A back porch folk/rock vocal trio with chops honed by road work with everyone that matters, they are more concerned with Akron being the new Seattle than they are with leather wing bats so don't worry about having to blow dust off this to enjoy it. Contemporary organic music that really hit's the spot, this is a must for left leaning Americana ears that don't worry about things being too purist when they should be more enjoyable. Well done.

DUKE ROBILLARD/Passport to the Blues: If I were Duke Robillard, it would be enough for me to have a cool name and have been close pals with Doc Pomus, but no, that's not enough for the real Robillard. That's why he keeps cleaning up at every blues award ceremony and keeps delivering major label sounding records on indy label budgets. The Duke is in the house once again. It feels like Robillard is turning the clock back to the Roomful of Blues days playing and writing with the chops of an old pro tempered by the vigor he fired up as a young blood. You want some contemporary/traditional, high octane blues that shows you how it's done? This is it. Plain and simple. Killer stuff.

RONNIE EARL & the Broadcasters/Spread the Love: He might be a good friend of Duke Robillard, but Earl probably owes his biggest debt of gratitude to Mike Bloomfield for showing him some Zen lessons that weren't lost on his way to becoming one of the premiere blues guitarists working today. This instrumental set finds Earl playing tribute to his heroes and influences either by original work or cover and letting the good times roll. Pure roadhouse to the core, you have to go to the juke joint on the outskirts of a party college town to find it rollick like this. A winner throughout.

Volume 33/Number 278
August 7, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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