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DELHI 2 DUBLIN/Planet Electric: Simply state of the art world beat genre bending as you can hyphenate anything string of descriptors you want and you would be right in describing this session. World beat oriented kids will dig this easily, but there's so much going on that you can't help but feel they want all world beat fans to get into the tent, particularly if they like their music without borders or limits. From the mosh pit that is Vancouver they come and their world is sonically their oyster. Check it out.

THE CLASSIC SHERLOCK HOLMES V. 1-2-3-4: 30 years ago, there was a big run of old time radio on cassette. It looked like a good thing but was actually a dicey proposition since most of the stuff was released because it was out of copyright and it was out of copyright for a reason that didn't include negligence or sloth. Lot of big names, Lot of cool looking stuff. Lot of it blew. Digging in the crates can be a wild proposition-- but tell you what, the 8 cds that make up these four 2 cd sets are quite the smart bet if you are any kind of classic mystery fan. Original radio broadcasts from 1954 that haven't been around since 1994 give the Sherlock Holmes fan what he came for. Almost 60 years old, these broadcasts are filled with the sound of fog closing in on the moors as Sirs John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson do the due as Holmes and Watson sparring through half hour broadcasts that give Moriarty and his nefarious pals that what for! When it comes to finds like this, it defines how to know when you aren't throwing the baby out with the bath water when sonic excavation is undertaken. A clever and solid find throughout.

SAMIR ZARIF/Starting Point: Coming from a family of classical players with a wealth of influences swirling around him, Zarif doesn't sound anything like any of the Texas sax men of the past as his world beat jazz is just as cosmopolitan as any city slicker. A sonic movie, Zarif isn't afraid to open any door he sees fit as he takes this tour de force to the extreme edges of sitting down jazz and pushes you as a listener to check out corners of your mind you've let gather dust for too long. Often deceptively simple, the genre blaster session has a lot of left leaning moves front and center and fully on the ball.

PENA/V. 2: Well kids, I'm very happy to report that volume one was no fluke and volume two has no table scraps or leftovers in evidence. One of the coolest world beat releases of last year, this Afro-Peruvian indigenous compilation has more of the same, but it isn't more of the same. Capiche? The result of a mad week of recording, this set has a whole different flavor than the first but the passion bursting from the first track will have you in thrall all over again if you are a repeat offender. Hot stuff that is sure to have you searching Hotwire for a spring break in Peru pronto. Killer stuff once again and hats off to the gang at Secret Stash.

SEAN SMITH QUARTET/Trust: Swinging jazz that has a sense of humor is on tap for the third set from this straight-ahead jazzbo bass man. With a bunch of pros in synch and bringing up the rear, this is a solid slice of sitting down jazz that anyone with a taste for old man jazz will love no matter what their vintage is. An all original set that knows it's way around, it's simply a fun, after hours kind of date that works throughout.

RAY CHEN/Virtuoso: A generation ago, if you wanted to make classical violin records you had to be a hot, young, Asian chick. The pendulum has shifted. The tiger moms have gone back to nurturing the male of the species and Chen is the latest in a long line of kick ass youngsters that deliver the goods on classical violin. Lacking the bombast of his counterparts 20 years ago, Chen is a pure player that gets inside the music and delivers it with the music itself front and center backed with tone, control and chops that show he's here for an impressive, long run. Featuring his personal play list of faves, Chen is on point throughout and we can't wait to see him locally at Ravinia this summer. He seems to be someone you don't want to miss.

TWO GUITARS/Bending Time: Kind of a boomer special here. These two guitar men have been around forever, have played with everyone, and they take this opportunity to record some classic pop/rock/soul tracks in a Willie & Lobo jazzed up kind of way with vocals. Certainly for the boomer that wants a break from the noise with something familiar yet different, it certainly is a fun respite from the noise in the world around us---especially if you can remember the good old days, circa, say, Nixon.

MAURICE TANI/JENN COURTNEY 77 EL DEORA/The Crown & the Crow's Confession: Several years ago we seemed to be regularly bombarded with a variety of cowpunk records that were so cool we couldn't understand how the majors were overlooking this for the swill they were putting out and nobody was buying. The economy stalled and the cool records stopped. This is the first cool cowpunk set we've gotten in a while and it makes up for a good piece of the drought. Calling themselves purveyor s of trailer park operetta, you can name the cowpunk subgenre at will but the main thing is this is cool. Easily country for people that aren't country fans, I don't know that I would tag this as Americana since it's too California country for that tag to be handed to the uninitiated, it's a gasser no matter what. Offbeat but with four on the floor throughout. Check it out.

Volume 34/Number 107
February 16, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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