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JORDAN YOUNG GROUP: The current generation of Big Apple jazzbos better not slow down because the next generation is already on the march. This young drummer and his pals are down with the Big Apple vibe and deliver the goods in hopping good form. More than just a time keeper, Young is a smart leader and composer as well as a student of the form that has a feel for well chosen covers. A tasty debut that grabs hold early and doesn't let go in classic Blue Note fashion.

BRUCE ARNOLD/Heavy Mental: Someone's showing off his love of Zappa's instrumental side. A stupid article recently said that Zappa is all but forgotten and I was wondering where the writer drew his thesis from. Coming right out of the box with the kind of angular Zappatistics that reminds you of the great live comedy albums of the early 70s before launching into the instrumental gems of the times, Arnold has the love of power shred to make the vibe his own reflecting his own passions. Guitar fans can feel free to rejoice.

BRUCE ARNOLD/The Art of the Blues: In which we find the guitar shredder turning his gaze in another direction to find something new in the blues. Working in a trio format, this is a solid example of power trio blues that charts it's own course. A lot of interesting experimentation as well as simple envelope pushing combine to make this a date shredders will need to check out to see that you can still find something new within the old.

GRACE KELLY-PHIL WOODS/Man With the Hat: Kelly came along at a time where there were a lot of hot, young chick sax players coming along. Kelly seems to have stood the test of time and I think she's still in her teens. With Woods on board, this tribute to him takes on a whole new dimension and the playing by the two is more than tribute/homage---it's purely right out of Woods' prime time. An atavistic sax date where the kid and the 80 year old sound like something from the kind of 50s dates your grandpa used to listen to, this is pure jazz heaven. This kid is going to go the distance and this is one killer date that helps underscore that theory. A first rate jazzbo good time from a player that's here to play. Hot stuff.

PALMER GARRAMONE FISHER/Permutation: Organ trio led by a vet that likes to keep things on the sonically adventurous side. With a heavy dose of freak out music running through it, the crew does a scaled down "Bitches Brew" vibe that let's the funk fly in old skool, street style. Certainly left leaning jazz, it's angularity is sure to chase away the squares.

KATHLEEN KOLMAN/Dream On: Boston jazz singer turns her master's thesis into a commercial outing. With a wonderful crew bringing up the rear, this high school teacher shows she can learn lessons as well as give them. A smart vocalist, she certainly has the keys to turn any lock tumblers at this point in her life and you can bet jazz vocal fans are hoping she makes the right choice (hint, hint...)

BILL AMEND/The Best of Fox Trot: A few years ago, the physicist that draws this strip must have seen the future writing it's message on the wall. Cutting back to a Sunday only strip to preserve the integrity of the material and possibly the integrity of his family's income, this family that's really typical of the family next door has continued to roll along. Gathering his own fave strips here in a two volume slip cased set that looks back over the life of the strip, you get 20 years of the original Stewie tormenting his family as well as the torture they inflict upon each other via tofu, narcissism, teen sloth, adult stupidity and more showing the real slice of real family life.

GARRY TRUDEAU/40 a Doonesbury Retrospective: If you are of a certain age and being tempted more and more by e-readers, here's a grand gesture of a coffee table book that will be tugging at your sleeve, especially if you are a fan of comic strips or long running soap operas. 15 years ago, Doonesbury came out with a cd-rom that had all the strips of the first 25 years. This is not an update of that. This is a killer 12 pound coffee table book that traverses you through Trudeau's best of Doonesbury and is more like a family album than a straight up Doonesbury by the pound. A touchstone of an era as well as several generations, some of the greatest social commentary is preserved in this daily three panel time capsule.
A fine, guided look back at an era.

Volume 34/Number 68
January 8, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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