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ROBERT HURST/Bob Ya Head: Comparisons always piss off an original but if you aren't familiar with Hurst, who has been laboring quite nicely in the background for way too many years, if you like Victor Wooten, Hurst has got something up his sleeve and in his bass case for you. Kicking into a world jazz/world wise date that lets him kick out the jams as your tour guide, this is one of those high octane sets that keeps going and doesn't think about knowing when to quit. A tasty excursion that's E ticket all the way mixing jazz and politics quite deftly and seamlessly.

ROBERT HURST/Unrehurst V. 2: The bass man leads a piano trio through an improv date on mostly originals where things move along quite nicely as the players find a middle ground where they are in synch. A grand sweep of sitting down jazz, this is a pro showing you how it's really done.

DENNIS TAYLOR/Steppin' Up: Posthumous album from a blues/roots super session cat that played with everyone but never really got Nawlins out of his system as this set shows. A real blue lights in the basement kind of set, he was a member Delbert McClinton's crew when he passed, just after completing this set. Nothing here to be maudlin about, even if it opens up sounding something like a Nawlins funeral march. Never too hip for the room, this is a legacy from a people's player that always knew how to hit the right notes. Check it out.

MAJID KHALIQ/The Basilisk: Progressive jazz violinist has captured the ears of New York insiders that know the wheat from the chaff and have declared him the wheat. Too young to have absorbed the 70s, he must have done a good job in his studies at Julliard because you can hear Ponty and countless progressive echoes of the era in his playing. None of this homage stuff for Khaliq though, he's his own player throughout. Certainly made to be appreciated by left leaning tastes, this is crème of the crop pomo modern jazz.

AMY LONDON/Let's Fly: Almost three years since her last/debut album? Already? Wow, time flies, which brings us to "Let's Fly". A sharpshooter of a vocalist, London is really in touch with her art chick side as she channels Eartha Kitt, Yma Sumac, Annie Ross and all the great vocal femme fates of pop music history. When she does her Brazilian thing here, we aren't talking Rio, London is taking you down the middle of the Amazon, and she comes across like a real Amazon. Bringing on all the passion she has to bear, this is smashing date that takes you to the hippest supper club in your mind, empties your wallet and brings you back looking for more. Cue the wolf from the Tex Avery cartoons for this redhead. Hot cha cha!

DAVID BINNEY/Graylen Epicenter: One of the cool things about being a well respected cat is the range of other cats that will show up on your date that are generally known names to the fan and listener. Pretty much an all star downtown jazz date, Binney and his crew deliver the sitting down jazz blue plate special on this set of originals where the sound they are encouraged to bring has them bringing their own special sauces to the table. This is what the downtown sound will now have to live up to.

WAYNE WALLACE LATIN JAZZ QUINTET/To Hear from There: This Latin jazz set is deeper than it seems at first blush and you can enjoy it all that much more by listening to it instead of over analyzing it. Kicking off with a riff that sounds like it's in the DNA of every Latin jazz fan, the record proceeds to light a fire under the party and keep it burning with just the right amount of heat, never too much or too little. Tasty no matter what, this is a real pro delivering the goods throughout.

LIFE AS WE KNOW IT: Back in the late 80s and early 90s, every movie was made with an eye toward an HBO sale and a home video release. As Hollywood scrambled to adjust to this new wrinkle, it turned out a lot of movies that under performed or were out right reviled at the box office found new legs at home in an era when a big screen TV was 32 inches. The contemporary chick pic seems to have fallen into that groove. Typically an amiable pic without a lot of substance whether heavy or light, it's not filling the theater seats like it used to. Bring it home and the game changes. Here we find Katherine Heigl putting on her best Meg Ryan
as she and Josh Duhamel become domestic partners that hate each other but have to put up with each other in the best interests of their common goddaughter who is now their problem. Insert pratfalls where you will. It works at home whether on blu ray, DVD or digital copy which are all on board here. The audience for this knows who they are and will enjoy it

Volume 34/Number 84
January 24, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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