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BILL ALLRED/The New York Sessions: Before there was smooth jazz and bizjazz, there was jazz played by swinging cats that weren't junkies. If you grew up in the 60s, your parents had these laying around the house from when they bought them in the 50s. Because the players were squares, the records didn't resonate much out of the suburbs but they certainly became part of the musical DNA of yuppies now of a certain age which is why records like this ping with incipient mature audiences. It's not easy listening, most of the songs are a million years old and the whole thing is a gasser as the Arbors All Stars are the back up crew for this fine escapade. Mainstream jazz you can sink into as well as sink your teeth into, let these pros give your atavistic jazz genes a well deserved airing out and run for their money. A winner throughout.

TERRY MYERS/Smiles: The recently departed Buddy Morrow, who saw them all come and go in his 91 years, gives Myers high marks in the liner notes for being a solid sax man. Well put. A finger popping daddio from start to finish, he chooses a pretty comfortable set card to let fly. The unit is working out here like a regular working band showing the intuitive chops of everyone on board in fine style. Simply the kind of straight ahead date with great playing by a cat you should get to hear more of that Arbors seems to specialize in. Well done.

RAY ANDERSON-MARTY EHRLICH QUARTET/Hear You Say-Live in Willisau: Sitting down jazz that freely genre splices loads of jazz sonic iconography that becomes a vaporous whole that you can't wrap your hands around but you certainly can wrap your head around. With each player on board a hitter in his own right that's been knocking them dead for years, this bone/sax led date finds the players starting with something that resembles Dixieland but Nawlins wouldn't recognize it. A great musical travelogue that feels like the players were kicking it out in the moment, you feel creative just listening to it. Wild stuff you should check out.

JOHN GOLDMAN'S QUADRANGLE/Outside the Box: A solid look at the cerebral side of Chicago jazz, Goldman's sax isn't funky but it's loaded with after hours low key vibes that just invite turning on those blue lights in the basement. Heavy on art and sitting down jazz, it is the kind of music that moves forward rather than just sit there and sound pretty. His new crew gets what he's doing and the ensemble's simpatico just invites you to mellow out and let it happen. Here's a good place to get your after hours groove on.

NEGRONI'S TRIO/Just Three: Just because he's been an educator and a publishing executive for longer than you've probably been alive doesn't mean this is a busman's holiday for a piano man that wants to see his name on a record jacket. Having put in his time in the salsa trenches, Jose Negroni knows his way around the corners of Latin jazz, gringo jazz, salsa and other caliente sounds. Urban without being barrio, you can hear the east coast jazz influences informing the proceedings. Zesty and contemporary, this is great cold weather car music when you needs something to warm up the commute.

KIRSTEN THIEN/Delicious: Anybody that calls Thien ‘Bonnie Raitt lite' needs to go back and listen to "Give It Up" again and dust off some old memories. With a crew that includes Hubert Sumlin, Tommy Mandel, Steve Holley and Andy Snitzer among others, this is the latest in a series of wild women who will not have the blues strutting her stuff and showing she means business. An army brat that has no compunction about mixing Memphis with ‘northern Baptist' soul and super smart pop songwriting, this fire cracker is the package. Man up, put the emo aside and enjoy the ride into adulthood. Hot stuff.

PAMELA HINES TRIO/Moon Germs: So now we find out this jazzy piano lady went to college on a full basketball scholarship. That explains the head fake on the opening track where she turns in a swinging version of Let's Fall in Love" that you almost won't recognize and may forget what it is a few times before it runs it's course. This time around, she's showing us that swing is the thing as this hot, upbeat set showcases some splendid originals as well as opening things up in new ways on established ballads and funk tunes. Sure handed fun stuff as always but not just another entry in her canon, Hines seems to not know how to play at any less than the top of her game. Hot stuff.

STEVE ELMER TRIO/Jazz Life-Live at Cleopatra's Needle: If this piano man sounds like an old pro it might be because he started out on drums over 40 years ago. Sounding like he learned a lot of lessons from the original Ramsey Lewis Trio's early to mid 60s swinging sets, this cat is right in the classic, commercial jazz mode and will easily turn your headphones or lap top into the club you like to hang out at with the cool piano player that likes to try new things. Simply a snappy set of solid playing and smart originals that seem to have been designed purely to make you feel good. They hit the mark with room to spare. Check it out.

Volume 33/Number 341
October 9, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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