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JOE CASSADY AND THE WEST END SOUND/The Chemical Vegas Wedding: The left side of Austin meets the left side of Brooklyn in a hippie country rock bar near Topanga Canyon and the Americana record that seems so left of center actually comes closest to hitting the target for all the people that want to really like Americana but find it not quite cutting it for them. Familiar as some loping, organic hippie country rock but existing in a unique space all it's own, welcome to an unbeatable slab of folk music for the 21st century. Killer stuff.

LEXIA/Underground Sounds: With the cool Frankenstein tat on her shoulder, you'd expect this to be more metal or more emo or more something other than the images on the cover and the liner make you think. Electro suburban stuff that skews heavily to the chick side but can be enjoyed by all looking for trippy, left of center pop that malcontent youth who hate the mainstream will love.

KEN THOMSON & SLOW/FAST/It Would be Easier If: A top third stream player takes the third stream into the next realm with his newest nu jazz aggregation that is long on chops and knows how to make first class sitting down jazz for jazz eggheads. This cat has shown over and over that he knows his stuff and knows how to share it.

ALVA NELSON/Soul Eyes: Talk about taking your time. These tracks were recorded between 1993 and 2003, not mastered until 2008 and now in your lap two years later. A hard charging piano man with a background in Texas jazz and theater music, Nelson is a pure fireball that seems never to have met a speedy lick he didn't like. Simply a cool find for jazz piano fans that like it on the express train.

LUCIANO TROJA/At Home With Zindars: So what do you know about the contemporary piano playing pals of Bill Evans? Not as much as Troja does, we'll bet. Italian piano man brought that Euro sensibility to the project and dug into the works and background of Earl Zindars, a cat married to the same woman for almost half a century who spent a lot of time teaching in the same place. Evans recorded a bit of Zindars and the two were pals that shared a style and sensibility. Trojo puts the piano work front and center showing off a side to Evans personality that fans will find fascinating. A solid, ambitious work that impresses throughout as well as expands the hard core jazzbo horizons. The cd is packaged with a 40 book that will take you as deep as you want to go on the subject.

ED BENNETT/En Route: Long time bass ace that could easily play with a been there/done that vibe doesn't know how to do that and comes with a mostly original date of post bop be bopping where everyone is smoking and having a good time. Tasty fun that moves and grooves with a nice steady velocity, this is a good time for the mainstream jazzbo looking for a good time where the playing is clean and true throughout.

CHARLIE HUNTER/Public Domain: Hunter's first all solo set, on his seven string guitar, in a decade finds him trying to please his 99 year old grampa by doing a set of songs so old that their copyrights have expired. Hunter applied his own Hunterisms to the proceedings and makes a few of the tracks almost unrecognizable to anyone that knows these songs from cartoons. Hunter once again proves he's at his best when he's making his own albums for his own fans and let's the chops fly. You'll certainly never listen to these songs the same way again. Well done, as always.

PATRICK McDONNELL/Earl & Mooch-A Mutts Treasury: In a world of cheap ass newspapers cutting space and budgets, these Mutts books grow in importance for fans because the Sunday splash panels that all too often get cut are included in the Sunday strips on parade here. Once again we get a year of Earl and Mooch and their various pals and peoples having their gently riotous look at the world as only these mismatched best friends can do. The most Zen strip since Peanuts or Bushmiller's Nancy, this year's worth of laughs is nothing to laugh off. Fans are going to have their noses buried in this book at a leisurely pace to savor the grins.

SPLICE: If "Species" was made by a foreigner and was about a science experiment rather than a alien, you would have the guts of what Splice is about. Americans cast a naked 19 year old Natasha Henstridge looking like people to be their alien, foreigners cast a hot chick as their science project but make her look like an alien. And the sexy scares roll from there. Blu ray turns this into a cool sci fi hi def horror thriller. Genre fans won't be disappointed and the pack also includes a standard DVD and digital copy. The lineage from "Alien" continues in fine, scary fashion.

Volume 33/Number 343
October 11, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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