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JAMBALAYA BRASS BAND/It's a Jungle Out There: These well traveled jazzbos have played with everybody and through it all, they all kept a few chops in reserve to make their own sound and vision in the few minutes of down time they could find. Kicking it off with something that sounds a little to the left of pre-war cartoon music, they start swinging early and often. A tasty glance over the shoulder at Nawlins good time music as re-imagined for now but keeping the days and times of making joyful noises in mind. A been there/done disc that adult ears will perk up once this starts the groove. Check it out.

MIKE KENEALLY & MARCO MINNEMANN/Evidence of Humanity: Creative musos in the kind of space where they can do what they want have a way of doing it and making it work. Minnemann, an all around progressive drummer got up one morning and recorded a 52 minute drum solo. He then sent it out to his fave guitarists hoping they would dig it and play something over it. Keneally dug it so much he put something over the whole thing and the result is just what the Zappa fan that doesn't want to believe he's in the cosmos jamming with Jerry Garcia was hoping for. A heavy dose of Zappa space jazz that he probably would have been making if he was still on this plane resulted. Wild stuff. The package comes with a DVD that shows what else went on that you didn't hear on the cd. Prog rock fans can start making entries in their Amazon gold box...right...about...now.

CHRISTINE EBERSOLE/Sings Noel Coward: I guess if you get west of the Hudson, it seems off the wall to mention Ebersole in the same breath as you would Peters, Buckley or Lupone since she's the chick from SNL that was banging Mozart on the sly, but the commanding soprano has built quite the Broadway legacy and filled her mantle with Tony's in high profile work that should be giving her wider national recognition. Since recently cornering the market on reviving Noel Coward, it's only right she devote an entire, intimate work to his works. While he hasn't survived in the same way as Cole Porter, he's a mainstay for urbane tastes just the same. Since show tunes from the 30s seem to be having a revival in general, this performance that feels like it's just for you is sure to be one of the tent poles of the movement. Now isn't that a fine vat of Cowardy Custard? Well done.

ASHLEY BROWN/Speak Low: She might be Mary Poppins Jr to the contemporary Broadway revival fan, but when it comes to working the classics, this nanny ain't no boo boo. Kicking it off with a righteous work up of a Kurt Weill classic before moving into a ledger of Sinatra classics, Brown is a sophisticated lady that knows how to make anything an art song without sucking the air out of it. This could easily be the gateway drug to the Sinatra oeuvre for any youngster that thinks it's just grandpa music.
83321 (Razor & Tie)

ANGELA HEWITT/Schumann (Kinderszenen; Davidsbundlertanze; Piano Sonata No. 2 in G Minor): So you thought all Hewitt did was sit around and figure out how to keep Bach in vogue without changing a thing. Ha. She's a piano goddess that can tackle any composer and bring them to life again. A delightful showcase of a program, Hewitt goes solo on warhorses and beyond from the period when Schumann was living out his own, real Romeo & Juliet period. Ah, romance before the age of Twitter. Recorded up close and personal like she's playing just for you at your request, this set is sure to make you a fan of the music even if you aren't a fan of the composer. Well done throughout.

FIONA & JOHN YORK/One Piano Four Hands: More intricate than the usual piano dueting, this is both players sitting at the same set of keys and working around each other. When the players are in synch like the Yorks, not only can they work around each other admirably but they can make those 20 fingers fill a room like an orchestra when the passage call for it. Working out on standards from DeBussy, Ravel and Stravinsky, this concert recorded just for you and your headphones is completely enjoyable and accessible even if you aren't a classical purist. Taken from the composers original scores, there isn't a wasted byte on this fully packed disc. A must for classical piano fans.

PICKPOCKET ENSEMBLE/Memory: So, if the original Hot Club had a folkie edge and a more universal outlook when the world was less of a melting pot, they would have sounded something like this. With less of a gypsy jazz edge, their self styled café music is a little too engaged for playing at Starbucks but anyplace the bohos outnumber the fauxhos, there's going to be open ears for this youthful take on a timeless sound and vibe. Fun stuff that knows how to deliver the proper audio getaway. Check it out.

LOTTERY TICKET: This is prime feel good, mainstream, black cinema. Not only is it shot on good stock and well lit but it's a wild tale of ghetto life turned upside by a winning lottery ticket that can't be cashed because of a long weekend closing state offices. In the end, the hero is the hidden goodness that out thugs the thug who out thugs the other thug clearing the way for goodness to ensue. Truly a wild little pic that engages all the emotions and leaves you wondering what will be coming next. Even Whitey can enjoy this tale of triumph over adversity without having had to play the black tax. Check it out. Available in blu ray combo pack.

Volume 34/Number 13
November 13, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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