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WALT WEISKOPF QUARTET/Live: Hard core sax jazzbo that can move from hard core bop to classic rock without breaking a sweat serves up his first live date with some smart cars in tow. Recorded at a sax event, Weiskopf is the kind of monster talent that can do it all. On this date, he shows he's got more wind in him that a politician. Energetic skronk that isn't shy about flexing it's muscles, this is what you get when a giant talent gets to blow off steam and let the good times flow. Hot stuff not to be taken lightly.

DAN WEISS/Jhaptal Drumset Solo: Very left leaning progressive jazzbo wants to show off relocating tabla to drum with only some shading from guitar. Yes, this is percussion geek record all the way. Any drumbos out there that want something that feels like a master class in a very narrow area will know where to go with this. Anyone else will probably want to play with the pitch controls to make it sound like the Chipmucks when some vocal coloration comes along. Just one of those strange ducks.

DEBORAH PEARL/Souvenir of You: Well, God love ya, Ms. Pearl. Benny Carter's memory has been left on the roadside to linger forgotten since he died in 2003, but Pearl, a long time friend that originally wanted to be a jazz singer until she got diverted by success as a screen writer, got together with Carter's widow for what's certainly an estate sanctioned recording. And then, on top of that, Pearl writes new lyrics to Carter's old melodies and even gets to sing with him, a la Natalie Cole, on some dusted off live tracks. Benny is smiling right now! Don't waste time figuring out if it's jazz or cabaret or adult contemporary. It's freaking cool is what it is. A great tribute set that works in whole new ways, Carter fans should come out of the woodwork and rejoice.

JERRY COSTANZO/Can't We Be Friends?: With a mission to bring the American songbook into the 21st century, Costanzo surrounds himself with some very capable jazzbos and instrumentalists with resumes beyond reproach and casts himself as the saloon singer that makes you want to learn how to work your dvr. With a nice personality and style, he has a feel for swinging the classics just short of infusing them with schtick and keeping their integrity in tact. A really fun romp for vocal fans feeling the male side of the ledger is vastly underserved.

JESSE MANLEY/Devil's Red: Not really freak folk but certainly left leaning, even though Manley grew up in some rock ribbed Republican areas. Pomo folk? If college radio isn't the next thing to collapse, this has college radio written all over it.

DREAM-A Liquid Mind Experience: They say you have to interact with your fans these days so Chuck Wild listened to what his core audience had to say about his healing arts series and tried to give them what they want as close as possible. With no beats and lengths timed to make a one hour massage fly by, he's probably succeeded. This stuff is what they really should mean when they are talking about chill out music. You can also use it to fool your friends into thinking you like contemporary classical music. They won't know the difference. A bunch of it sounds like the vaguely Catholic music that turns up in Scorsese gangster pics.

I LOVE-Tom T. Hall's Songs of Fox Hollow/various: A wildly diverse bunch of artists gather around to pay tribute to a concept that happened almost 40 years ago. Tom T. Hall veered to the left, came out with a children's album and opened a whole new door in his canon. With artists touched directly or indirectly by Hall plying their trade, this is right up there with sets like "Pearls in the Snow" etc that are so offbeat they can't help but work. In lesser hands with lesser material, this certainly would have been a jive exercise but Hall has had too much on the ball for so long that this is a sweet 75th birthday acknowledgement. Well done and the love is showing.

CARMEN CUESTA/Mi Bossa Nova: There's a whole lot of reasons that Cuesta really has bossa nova in her blood, not least of which was Stan Getz being the best man at her wedding. This set finds her and her long time hubby, Chuck Loeb, digging down to find that sweet spot that makes this tribute to Jobim more than an exorcize for a singer looking for traction. She might label this recording a labor of love, but the accent here is on the love, not the labor. A lovely addition to any bossa nova collection no matter how well worn these Jobim staples are. With summer on the way, this is a great musical gateway drug to have on hand.

Volume 34/Number 168
April 18, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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