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ELIANE ELIAS/Light My Fire: So why did the label let me review and album that won't be out until 5/31/11 now? Could it be that in over two decades I've yet to think Elias has ever made a bad album? Could it be that she has yet to make a bad album? If you're looking for the old pro to trip and fall, she doesn't do it this time out either. While some of her albums are more special than others, this one is a bag breaker that is charting the course to the future. Until recently, vocals on an Elias outing were rare but here she takes it to the next level of the game. Masters thesis's will be written about the languid, cougarisms she brings to "Light My Fire" and "My Cherie Amour" where it's clear that she knows what she wants and the pot is cooking well past simmer, but she's going to keep what she wants by letting you know You Da Man in a more mind melting way than all of Betty Davis's sex soaked screaming put together. Please let me produce your cover of "Tell Me Something Good". Not only will she make you forget The Doors, Stevie Wonder and John Davidson, she finds Latin grooves in "My Cherie Amore" that Stevie didn't even know he put there. With a summer breeze voice that reminds of Astrid Gilberto but is more woman that coquette, Elias has rounded third and is heading toward home for that jazz Grammy next winter. Hot stuff throughout as she puts the boss in bossa nova. And you heard it from me first.

MARK RAPP'S MELTING POT/Good Eats: Remember those Lou Donaldson albums laying around your grandpa's house that were groovy sounding, had cool covers and never seemed to be hits for reasons you didn't understand? Rapp remembers those records too and he's laying down some golden Bluenote cooker style work here that is on the money throughout. Funky, sassy and solidly in a stone groove, this is delightfully fun stuff whether you were a kid at the right time and place or not. When someone works a groove this sweetly, it's a wonderful thing for all to hear. Hot stuff.

JAZZ/various: While the artists maybe various, they are pretty much pulled from the Verve catalog and it's related holdings. This is something of an essential collection for contemporary jazz tourists that want to know more about baggy pants music but were too young to experience it the first two times around. A lovingly collected look at an era, this is right in the footsteps of the overviews we could expect from Starbucks a decade back and the foundation of a nice contemporary jazz education from vocals to instrumentals.

CHICAGO BLUES A LIVING HISTORY-The (R)evolution Continues/various: As magnificent as the first volume was, reality says that the economy stinks and as influential as this music is, it's marginal. Let's hear it for people on a mission! They've given us a two record volume two companion set. Blues fans have the proverbial ‘if you only buy one blues album this year' set on their hands right now. The core bunch of west siders is on board and bunch of new guest stars that aren't chopped liver duck in from out of the cold to turn up the heat. Simply another Grammy worthy set that sets the night on fire and gives hard core Chicago blues the presentation and respect it deserves. If the juke joint is rocking, don't come a knocking----just come right in. This set is as right on as it gets.

JIM SNIDERO/Interface: Don't let the flat affect cover pic put you off, the sax man is blowing as hot as ever. Mixing it up between bop, swing and mellow, Snidero offers a tour de force showing why he's so highly rated and so well thought of. Simply a killer set of killer playing where Snidero taken pen in hand throughout as well. A first class date throughout, he's a spot on jazzbo's jazzbo playing at the top of his current game. Well done.

KARSH KALE/Cinema: While Kale has legit worked with everyone that has sold in the millions and made a name for himself at the same time in the Bollywood film scoring sector, this isn't your typical Ennio Morricone album. Recorded over two years, whether having to do with movies or not, this cinematic album takes in all the cinemascope aspects of contemporary, left leaning world based pop. A well textured set for any open eared listener, not just youngsters, this is a fine example of expression meeting the mainstream and nothing but good coming out as a result. Wild stuff that doesn't let you down.

STEVE KHAN/Parting Shot: Bluenote's old school division just seems to be in the air. Khan basically reunites Eyewitness and adds some first class Latin cats to make this the first real Latin guitar record for gringos since Grant Green was working that vibe. A solidly delicious date that isn't retro as the players are allowed to fully display their gained maturity and let the vibe go where it takes them, this set has the kind of snap and verve that it take s to deliver some easy jazz with bite. The chops here run deep and you are in good hands throughout. A winner throughout.

MELVIN JONES/Pivot: Jones is one of those trumpet playing MVP s that's in the background of everything and is finally getting the chance to step out on his own. A great throwback to 60s and 70s jazz/funk, this high octane set is a wonderful way for a deserving player that's paid his dues to grab the spotlight. Energetic in all the best funky, Bluenote old school ways, Jones shows that he's much more than a key player in the grand scheme. Tasty stuff that hits all the right notes in first class form. Check it out.

Volume 34/Number 172
April 22, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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