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TODD WOLFE BAND/Live: He's played with all the jam bands in one way or another across the years and he's here now simply to bring it for the next generation. A mix of power trio, Texas white boys with the blues and the old jam band ethic, these players know how to play it and they are here with the only mission being to kick out the jams and get the party started. They aren't trying to be anything they aren't and they know how to deliver the goods in first class fashion. On the money throughout.

DONNY McCASLIN/Perpetual Motion: With licks that he can hurl at you at 200 mph tempered with style and grace, this is a tenor sax man for the times, picking up where the greats of the past have left off. Sharp angular and muscular playing throughout, McCaslin has his downtown sympathizers in tow springing forth with a left leaning, jazzbo good time. A high octane set from start to finish, modern jazzbos will enjoy this thoughtful flight of fancy that just keeps charging ahead, non-stop. Hot stuff.

PLUNGE/Fish Tango: Ever wonder what a klezmer funeral would sound like in Nawlins? That's the vibe on the opening track of this chance taking crew as they chart their own uncharted path for their third outing. Cerebral, sitting down jazz that gives you a one on one feeling between you and the players as they have this special in the moment style of playing that still seems new on repeated playings. No holds barred and no quarter given, this is uncompromised writing and playing that exists on it's own plane and takes you along for the ride before you realize they've strapped you in. Check it out.

BANN/As You Like: If more people knew who these established players were, this could easily be called a super session/super group thing. Mixing old sensibilities with new vibes, these post bop players come together like a crew where the individual strengths are appreciated for what they are with the only competition between the players being to raise each other's games. Seamus Blake fires it up as a solid blowing session and left leaning jazzbos will be glad he did. Solid sitting down jazz throughout.

JOHN-ALEX MASON/Jook Joint Thunderclap: White boy, Baptist blues where the Delta of the mind meets the holy trinity in house rocking style. Anyone who's been to the roadhouse at the edge of the college town where time stands still and they think Paul Butterfield is a young upstart, you will find your sound. Raising a secular but holy ruckus, Mason's outsider music is oddly compelling and is certainly the stuff of tent revivals. A wild ride from start to finish.

LOVE ON A SUMMER AFTERNOON--Songs of Sam Davis/various: In which we are introduced to the next generation of thinking man's Broadway composer. Paying his dues since arriving on the scene after graduating college in 1998, Davis sounds to be one of the next in line to assume the mantle of serious Broadway composer. With 18 top male Broadway vocalists taking a turn each on Davis' personal and powerful works, this omnibus overview forebodes bright things to fans that believe in keeping the real Broadway alive. This is the kind of set that gives you bragging rights about being there first since you really have to be a Broadway hound to know about much of the proceedings here if you are anywhere west of the Hudson. A shining example of a powerful beginning.

PETER ELDRIDGE/Mad Heaven: The co-founder of New York Voices has assured his place as a purveyor of sophisticated jazz pop already, but here we find him wanting to make sure you know he can do it under his own name. After hours, city jazz for when it's time to put the bizjazz away and let some real feeling and feelings come through. Is it uptown? Is it jazz? Is it Latin jazz from some banana republic in the back of your mind? It's all of that and it's all done right. This is a piano man that does way more than just tickle the ivories. Well done and a beacon for the left leaning tastes.

GENERATION BASS/Transnational Dubstep: Cutting edge world beat overview as collated by the top blog on the subject. While it's still a sub genre now, bass and dub have been mainstreams of malcontent music for ages, this just moves it along the chess board. Pains have been taken to make it palatable to contemporary college tastes. A mix mastered, genre blender of a date, this is music to cut class to, in first class style. You'll be racking up the mental frequent flyer miles every time you give this a spin.

Volume 34/Number 79
January 19, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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