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KRISTINE W/Straight up With a Twist: Oh, it happens to all former Miss America contestants that have a good run of disco hits on a major label; they get shown the door. Reinventing herself in Vegas as a progressive jazz singer, you have to give the former diva credit for washing down the humble pie with some Red Bull and pulling it off. Now a Vegas staple showing more chops and less jive than you would expect from a former disco dolly, Kristine take the mastery of her old groove and applies it to her new groove and she really gets her groove on. This is the kind of record you wind up loving not because it has hits but because it doesn't hit you over the head and is always fun to have around. Best of luck in your new location, Kristine, you deserve it---especially since you take "Stairway to Heaven" to Vegas and don‘t make it sound like Sammy Davis did the charts.

ORAN ETKIN/Wake Up Clarinet: Kids music takes on a whole new dimension as this world beat clarinetist bebops for kids turning himself into a new Captain Kangaroo as he teaches kids about music by getting them involved and not forcing hoary stuff kids hate, like "Billy Boy" upon them. Even budget cuts can't stop kiddie music appreciation like this. New York kids love this and here's the chance for kids everywhere to get in on the fun. Really cool can't miss stuff that makes you wish they had this when you were a kid. Well done.
46 (Timbalooloo)

TINA TURNER-DECHEN SHAK DAGSAY-REGULA CURTI/Beyond: If you're into the healing arts music, this is a landmark record for the genre in which a Christian chanter, the voice of Tibet and Tina Turner, who credits her conversion to Buddhism with helping her survive her breakaway from Ike, come together with the blessings of Dalai Lama and Abbott Osb for a set of hard core religious music that goes way beyond the chant craze of a long while back, doesn't hit you over the head and comes as fully produced as a top shelf new age record in the genre's prime. Nearly theatrical in it's presentation, this is absolutely must hearing for anyone in a seeking mode these days. What sets this apart from telemarketing versions of stuff like this is that this set is totally from the heart from voices that really practice what they preach. This is both the kind of set that's a smashing introduction to the genre for newbies and a dead solid perfect set for the already believers. Turner has certainly come a long way from the thunder dome as this is the lady as you've never heard her. The open eared will find this really cuts across a lot of lines in a grand way. Simply a Grammy worthy set.

RICHARD SUSSMAN QUINTET/Live at Sweet Rhythm: When Sussman first came out with "Free Fall" 30 years back, it became one of those great underground classics that got passed around reverently. Now, the band behind it has reunited, bring deeper chops and longer resumes . Taking on a new take on the original songs with a few song ringers, this straight ahead crew delivers the goods in ‘wish you were there' fashion. This date is actually from the earlier part of the century, but there ain't no dust on it. Killer stuff for the straight ahead jazzbo.

GEORG BREINSCHMID/Brein's World: If you aren't familiar with this crack jazzbo bass player, the look and feel of this double cd might have you dismissing it as the work of some man-child with Zappa fantasies. A little more proof that you should never judge a book by it's cover--judge it by the jpegs if you can find any. Kicking off with some lively gypsy jazz and taking a tour through his various recombinations with other like minded progressive jazz fellow travelers, the music is mostly first rate and charming and not at all impenetrable even if it does have a few off beat flourishes that make you scratch your head. It's Euro roots show proudly and overall, it's a dandy introduction to a new offbeat color in the palette.

SCOTT ADAMS/Problem Identified and You're Probably Not Part of the Solution: Differing from the total walk down Dilbert's memory lane two years ago, this treasury collection is a walk down the pointy haired bosses greatest flubs from the last 20 years. The scary thing is that the strips from 1991, 1994, 1999 and 2004 could have easily been ripped from today's headlines. The only thing missing is management recently saying all those missing jobs are never coming back. Here we have a cornucopia of hilarious bad management where empowerment isn't, promotions aren't and nothing is as it seems, expect the unmitigated workplace misery. So, come with us back to when Wally had bad teeth, Alice had a baby, the boss looked like a weird Ed Asner and Dilbert didn't have a date (oops). The collection proves how timeless Adams' observations are. And fun too.

MON AMOUR: Tinto Brass 2006 pic about sexual infidelity shows those Euros have a different view of things than we do. This tale of sexual drifting is something we are so jaded to that we expect stories like this every night on TMZ. The Euros have a more placid view of adultery than we do, but directors like Brass have a way of making it shocking, perhaps due to their mastery of titillation and suspense. Shown in high def, infidelity never looked so good. The erotic master should have been working here during the 1990s when VHS held sway over the direct to video erotic thriller. That would have burned up the screen. Brass hits it out of the park again.

CARRIE UNDERWOOD Live at Ravinia: Context is sure everything. Is there really a recession on? Does TV not break singers? From the sea of little girls in $90 seats, you wouldn't think those who were there to cheer on their own Cinderella knew anything about hard times or could be pried away from their TVs long enough to come to the show. These were fans that knew all the words to the songs, didn't mind that it was way more rock than country and didn't get upset about the show running 80 minutes the way the Sondheim audience did at the tribute show earlier this summer. Context is everything. Fresh from her recent marriage, Underwood got up and delivered the goods, certainly breaking a sweat in the 90 degree outdoor night, but certainly looking like she was having a good time. And so was her audience, include a pair of older little girls holding up a sign asking Underwood to sing at her wedding this month. The audience and the act were well matched as every square inch of the lawn was packed with fans that were probably willing to pay the tariff for a seat but showed up at the box office too late. This was a pure example of a pop show presented in high gear and a good time was had by all.

Volume 33/Number 309
September 7, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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