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TOOTS THEILEMANS/Live Takes V. 1: These tapes are originally just board mixes from Belgium concerts recorded at various times in the 90s with various back up players, so it isn't meant to be a record, or even a live record. Too bad. With few places that would be willing to write a check for a new Theilemans set, we might feel like we should be happy to take what we can get, but the Tootster is too cool to just toss out some leavings for the hell of it. Hanging together like an intimate, live album, the vet knows his paces so well that he probably could have made an intriguing, new record in his sleep. It turns into a valentine for anyone who is a fan of the greatest jazz harmonica player of these times. A solid find.

LANDSBERGER-MORELLO/Hammond Eggs: Long time piano man frees himself and the Hammond for a funky date that isn't nostalgic (read: not too greasy sounding) that brings the white people funk forward so the kids can get in on the fun today. Angular in the way that we expect Eurojazz to be when the players decide to get ‘fonky‘, Jimmy Smith fans will find it a little dry while hipsters will cleave it to their breasts. It's a generational thing, roll with it.

MORELLO & BARTH/Fim De Semana Em Eldorado: Bossa nova as appreciated and interpreted by a German and a Dane that wanted to add their two cents to the 50th anni of the sound and do so quite nicely. With a couple of Brazilian ringers on board, this date was certainly more timely when originally released in Germany in 2003 but it cooks nonetheless. Don't be surprised if you hear Scott Adams giving this his seal of approval as it's right in the Brazilian groove that strays outside the margins that his show respects. Tasty, lite jazz/bossa nova that is the perfect antidote anytime you are hopelessly stuck in traffic.

SWISSISSIPPI CHRIS HARPER/Four Aces & A Harp: We're the kind of party people that dig it when a white boy with the blues rounds up some real blues cats with resumes dating back 50 years and let's the good times roll. He writes a check, everybody knows what they are in for and a good time is had by all. Harper launches a label and his blues career in such a fashion. After running a display company in Switzerland and chasing this dream with proceeds from the sale of that company, purists will have their kvetching about this, but party people will dig it, certainly John Belushi style. If Harper was a kid, this wouldn't work but he's got the age in his voice and he digs Sleepy John Estes so what can be so bad? Rock the joint and let the good times roll.

BOB BLAINE/Big Otis Blues: Here's a Chicago cat that listened to his share of after hours Stax jams when the players were hitting the jelly jar full of fuel. A growler and a shredder, this sounds like a super, lost soul session from back in the Memphis day. The Stax feel is on top but there some of that gritty Hi sound from across town as well. White boy or not, he learned his blues lessons well enough that he could be an Englishman in the 60s selling our sound back to us. Hot stuff.

PEACHES STATEN/Live at Legends: A rollicking set from a blues vocalist that has the distinction of recording the last record made at the original Legend's before it's recent move. She's the kind of belter that can take the place of Koko Taylor and stand tall next to Bettye Lavette or Sharon Jones. The band is right in step, she adds some zydeco to the mix and has the kind of journeyman resume that lets her slide in and out of modes on a whim. If a nascent label ever had a break out artist on their hands right out of the box, this is it. A killer date that blues fans will love.

MATT HILL/On the Floor: The crème of the white blues boys come together for a home recording that sounds like anything but. Launching a new high octane belter/shredder, this is simply first class contemporary, white boy blues that's fun at any speed. The whole crew is energized hanging out with this break out artist that has to have a connection to Wayne Cochran somewhere in his family tree. Don't miss it if you dig contemporary blues.
1 (Deep Fried)

CHRIS O'LEARY BAND/Mr. Used to Be: This cat spent a long time as Levon Helm's side kick and you can tell he out grew the outfit. A first class singer/harp player, this is more in the tradition of Butterfield but without the Chicago edge. Of course, Butterfield moved to Woodstock and this was a Hudson Valley recording so,,, Don't know how this will play with the purists but white boys and frat boys can probably be found war whooping in the back of the bar to this all night long. A winner throughout.

Volume 33/Number 305
September 3, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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