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MICHAEL WILLIAM GILBERT/I Can See From Here: If you think you're picking up a Zappa vibe right away, Gilbert is a devotee of Varese. And he digs world beat. And he lived in Belgium. And if you never heard of him, when you put this record on, it's about as far away from what you think the two old guys on the inside liner would give you. A toned down version of Miles' electro elephant funk, you can't put your finger exactly on what this is but it certainly is hypnotic. Linear in a non-linear way, this is way more than a collection of beeps and bips and earth beat sounds, it's simply the craziest thing a musical malcontent could turn his mainstream friends onto without alienating them. Feeling adventurous? By all means, check it out.

LEXICON: A bunch of kids out in an Illinois cornfield think they feel the jazz. And they do, having the same vibe as early Simon & Bard or Sweetbottom. Those groups might not have made it to the finish line but the people that came out of them certainly did. These kids got the jazz, the progressive chops, the fusion chops and a real respect and love for what they play. Killer stuff from a really unexpected place, this ain't fuzak, this is real deal contemporary fusion that simply a gasser. Track it down and check it out.

EUGENE MARLOW'S HERITAGE ENSEMBLE/Celebrations: With Bobby Sanabria hanging out do you think this is going to be anything like the typical Klezmer album? Most of the songs are from Chanukah, two are from Purim and the Maccabees never heard their stuff sound so funky. Every Jewish kid has these songs stapled to their DNA, and the more rebellious ones grew to hate them as corny but the AfroCubanization of the holiday of the lights will really get to even them after they get past the familiar core riffs. Boring contemporary rabbis ought to give this a spin if they are really concerned about reaching out to the new generation, this sound could actually power conversions and the return of the lost flock. Really, I never thought this stuff could sound so wild.

PECOLIA FITTS/Lots of Little Goodies: Fitts has scaled some serious heights on her own and you have to wonder where she could go if someone got behind her. A hard hitting soul lady with a lot on the ball on this DIY release, a little money in the kitty would give her the breathing room to make a killer set that hits all the bases. Knowledgeable in old skool soul, she's got a lot on the ball and deserves some attention. It's getting harder for the real indy to stand out but Fitts is well on her way.

BOSSA BRASIL & MAURICIO DE SOUZA GROUP/Here. There...: So, one cat makes a record that features two groups he runs at the same time, both digging into the Brazil sounds that were the home turf sound at his last location. And, yeah, that's Mike Stern you hear hanging out in the mix. Brazil grooves with a lounge and jazz twist that make even the chestnuts sound fresh. A solid, fully packed disc of upbeat happy music that will do nothing less than drive away the blues. If you're the typical gringo with some south of the border interests, this is played and plotted in just the way that you dig to the max. Right on the money throughout, it sophisticated and savvy with just the right amount of funk and winks to keep it right in your pocket. Every adult in need of a sonic fix should put this on their portable player pronto. Well done.

JOHN McNEIL BILL HENRY/Chill Morn He Climb Jenny: Well traveled hipsters with a few miles under their belts dive into recreating the Mulligan/Baker cool school vibe by reinventing some chestnuts and making them sound like nothing you'd ever expect them to. Clearly an interesting sonic experiment, this goes deep into the old man jazz sound of the early to mid 50s that had a certain claustrophobic sound that summoned up church basements and storefront clubs that couldn't make their rent. On the corner where cardigan sweaters meet black tar, this sound is alive and well giving hipsters their long coveted validation no matter how they pretend to reject it. This is a sonic journey through more tunnels than you might realize.

WATERMELON SLIM & the Workers/Live at the Ground Zero Blues Club: For a guy that seemed like a joke act when he was first firing this career up, Slim has set the blues world rightfully on it's ear. Here we find him in his live element, in Clarksdale no less, giving the blues and the blues fans a run for their money. Tearing it up in that left of center way that he has made his trademark, this is the next best thing to being there and feeling the vibe in the moment. Totally good stuff throughout.

Volume 33/Number 329
September 27, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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