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MATT ULERY'S LOOM/Flora Fauna Fervor: A Chicago instrumentalist with jazz chops and a jazzy resume goes the Hideout malcontent route by releasing his second album on vinyl and download only. Located somewhere in that place where ECM meets right of center new age, Ulery and his pals probably won't be giving up their high profile day jobs but they have found an outlet for that avant late night jazz that faux hipsters will never get.

TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS/Damn the Torpedoes--Deluxe Edition: Well fellahs, in case you wondered why you never got Petty it's because he decided from day one it was all about the chicks. If you look at his longevity, he could probably give John Meyer some lessons. When you hear the original analog tapes in contemporary, remastered digital glory, you can see/hear why the little girls understood. With lots of bonus and unreleased tracks on board, a lot of clocks are going to be turned back 30 years, a lot of grocery budgets are going to be snitched from and a lot of grown up little girls are going to understand one more time. The heat behind this set hasn't dimmed with time.

EMPRESARIOS/Sabor Tropical: Solid dose of contemporary Ricky Ricardo music that fuses the Latin with the jazz and other dance styles into a deck gringo mix that today's yuppie will want in the background when firing up a doob after another shit eating day punching up briefs at the law factory. Just when you think you've got this record figured out, you're in for a surprise.

JOHN McLAUGHLIN/The Promise: C'mon, this record isn't so old that it's on the cult classics label already? It only came out 14 years ago, when McLaughlin was enjoying a 15 year run of creative freedom on Verve. This outing found him with loads of pals in a modern jazz setting that still doesn't sound dated yet. McLaughlin is the cheerful ring leader of this jazz fun fest that pulls in pals from all his various adventures through the disciplines. This is what jazzbos sound like after hours when they are trying to amuse themselves. You want in on it? Go for it.

JOHN MARTYN/Live at Leeds Deluxe Edition: Ah, an unvarnished look back at the enigmatic Mr. Martyn, a glorious self destructive ragamuffin that might have either been a mad genius or a one hit wonder. Another in a series of journeymen folkies, he held on to his record deal because he was the only person that could get through to his pal, Island's would be golden boy, Nick Drake. Martyn vented his sorrow over Drake's death in the classic "Solid Air" which foretold great things for this white boy in Great Britain smitten with the blues. Three years later, he was selling this album mail order, well before the Internet would have made him a cause celebre. This album has a curious history as this is the first time the record of the record of the actual show has been released. It's complicated, read the liner notes. With the deep vault stuff that rounds out Uni's deluxe editions in tow, this is certainly an essential album for the uber fan that never failed to show up to see if the double amputee diabetic would fall drunkenly off his wheel chair or not. The between song chatter is as hoary and dated as the interstitial material on a Rat Pack album, but Martyn is playing that echoplex for all it's worth, Danny Thompson keeps the beat no matter how much Martyn mangles his name and this double cd might be the closest thing we have to a time machine until the real thing comes along. Oddly and merrily, I feel transported back to the first time I heard "Solid Air" and can imagine what it must have feel like to see him open for Pink Floyd. Befriended by all the top rock elite, he's in danger of drifting into obscurity today but this strange set that veers from genius to madness could make him the James Dean of musical college kids for generations to come. Such incredible space jams from a folk singer smitten with the blues, my goodness.

VALERY GERGIEV/Shostakovich Symphonies #2 & #11: Gergiev and his orchestra take their work seriously, you can tell that from the opening bars because when the music calls for largo, they give you largo so hard and fast that you can go several minutes before you start thinking this SACD might not be compatible with your player. And when that needs to change, it changes quickly and easily. The nascent yupster looking for some musical class will be able to ease into this as a lot of it sounds like classic cartoon music. Simply one of those dates that's so good you don't even realize it's good for you. A winner of performance throughout.

MARVIN GAYE/Let's Get it On Rarities Edition: For those of you that hemmed and hawed about getting the deluxe edition of this album when it rolled around and later regretted it because you finally realized you are an uber geek for this original album, along comes the second disc of the set as a break out collection that has the rare mixes, deep tracks and 360 look at the main event. Northern soul geeks that don't already have this will be eating it for breakfast.

LUTHER HUGHES & THE CANNONBALL-COLTRANE PROJECT/Things Are Getting Better: The quasi current house band at the Lighthouse keeps the tradition alive but writes and charts a lot of their own, new material at the same time. Progressive boppers that know how to add all the colors their lodestars added so proficiently, this isn't an homage or cover band, it's a bunch of jazzbos kicking it out the jazziest way they know how with spectacular results. If you were glad to see you fave Coltrane and Adderley records get 24 bit remastered because you wore out your lps and the early German cds sounded too brittle, this is the crew to take you to tomorrow. Hot stuff.

Volume 34/Number 41
December 11, 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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