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JAIME MICHAELS/The Man With the Time Machine: This guy sounds like he used his time machine to find the vibe Dylan plugged into as he segued in "Nashville Skyline" With a collection of alt.hitmen backing him up, Michaels is on point with a sweet folk flavored set that does a great job of hitting all the right notes along the way. A sneakily wonderful album, this is going to grab hold of acoustic music fans and not let go. Check it out.

DOROTHY LEIGH/A Second Chance: What is it with all these lawyers that want to be singers? Here we have a soulful lady that grew up in and around music but preferred to put the torts before the cart before reconnecting with the universal vibe. Nice lounge set that sounds like it's genesis sprung from bizjazz after hours joints around Wall Street. Fun stuff that hits all the lite and easy moves, seemingly bred as a first class soundtrack to cocktail hour.

BIG SHANTY/Collection: If we're not careful, Shanty might be the last blast of outsider music we hear in our lifetimes. With his industrial, acid blues, he came out of nowhere a few years ago and became the darling of the underground, indie world. This set looks the past over one last time and offers up some previously unreleased stuff as well. Real musos know this is cut from the true vine and it's a real tonic for stasis infested bloodstreams. With cats from the classic Capricorn era on board, nobody here wants any dust on them and they deliver. This ain't for you if you're a chart music fans, but if you aren't.....dig it and dig in.

SHAUN CROMWELL/Folk Worn Prose: He's not working the same sound as Fred Neil but the similarity between the two is that he's a killer player that is an acquired taste at the same time. A unique and singular voice that has been well recognized in the folk world in a short time, Cromwell works that retro/neuvo tip like he was born to it. Like the vortex where the New Lost City Ramblers collided with the Weavers, Cromwell has that special lightening in a bottle that propels him to the top of the list. Killer stuff.

LYNNE ARRIALE/Convergence: So far, Arriale has impressed us as a player that keeps getting better every time out. Her last set tore the roof off the sucker. This time out, the jazzy piano lady shows it's going to take more than new shingles to fix the roof. Finding her footing deep in the post bop groove and digging in her heels as deep as she can, she leads the festivities with a swing and vigor that just makes you sit down, shut up and pay attention---even though this isn't sitting down jazz at all. Maybe a career maker, maybe one in a series of penultimate, what ever it is, this is a date jazz piano fans should not miss. Purely killer stuff throughout.

JANE IRA BLOOM/Wingwalker: She has an asteroid named after her and has gotten grant money from arts councils as well as NASA to do her thing. This is a wild woman with her feet on the ground. The music here was funded from arts council wells, so she took the opportunity to put the old gang back together, take it down town and explore the back streets of your mind in an open eared search for beauty. Neither flexing her Cuban or astral sides, Bloom uses her sax as a sherpa to set the exploration in motion on a journey within. Serious sitting down jazz all the way.

MIKE DiRUBBO/Chronos: The Grim Reaper's pop was one bad dude and DiRubbo shows he can lead a New York sax trio and swing a sax like Chronos could swing a scythe. Enjoyable stuff in a Coltrane vein where to live is to honk and to honk is to skronk. A right on trio throughout, this is solid jazzbo stuff you don't have to be a hipster to love.

DAVE HANLON'S COOKBOOK/Hot & Sweet: These guys have been at it for 28 years and you know what they sound like? Suppose Rufus never broke up and kept at it even if they had to make their own indie records with the major label budgets long gone. Rufus might have had 10 years on this bunch, but the funk is the funk and damn is it ever funky up in heah. Dandy pop/funk that simply a gasser.

Volume 34/Number 67
January 7, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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