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JESSIE MARQUEZ/All I See is Sky: It's a big wide world. I once spent an evening with a delightful, young lady who seemed every inch a gringa and ended the evening telling me she was a Mexican from Oregon. It took a while for my brain to make sense of that not expecting any Mexican population in Oregon. Marquez is from the same area and is sonically turning the Pacific Northwest into the tropics. A four on the floor/hitting on all eight kind of Latin vocal record labels like A&M would do once in a while that might not have found their audiences but were killer dates. An indie release with major label attention to detail, this might just be the proverbial ‘if you only get one Latin vocal record this year' set. Marquez not only hits it out of the park but circles the bases an extra time just to be sure. Hot stuff not to be missed.

DAN KRIKORIAN/Windsor Blue: Well grounded folk/rock singer/songwriter knows how to be a good entertainer while having something to say that isn't too weighty or too light. More he sound of a welcome old friend than a hit radio star, Krikorian makes the kind of pleasant and pleasing sounds that go well with kicking back, cups of coffee after work and sunny rides on exurban highways. Well done.

STEPHANE GRAPPELLI/Plays Jerome Kern: Recorded when he was well into his 80s and sounding spry enough to be a player at most half his age, Grappelli could have tossed this off in his sleep but he wouldn't, couldn't and didn't, making a set that might not fit the format or the times but didn't need to because it's a well done timeless classic. You have to play this anytime you need to feel like a grown up. You also have to wonder why he never got around to recording a duet with Toots Thielmanns. These two old pros in the same room would have really been something. Meanwhile, there's plenty of good stuff here to go around.

STEVE HUDSON CHAMBER ENSEMBLE/Galactic Diamonds: This certainly feels like the kind of left of center group that you would love to see live. Groups like that don't often capture that spark on record but I've never seen this crew live and don't feel like I'm missing anything (regarding the live to record gulf). A fine crew of genre benders, they sound like the lounge/cabaret act that would have been playing next door to the cantina in "Star Wars" . Crafty, plucky, eclectic and more, whether turning tango sideways or whatever, they know the basics and use that knowledge to freely embellish and demolish from there. A witty instrumental set for witty ears to appreciate.

Volume 34/Number 183
May 3, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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