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JEFF FAIRBANKS' PROJECT HANSORI/Mulberry Street: This is one of those records that you're so much better off listening to before you read all the program notes and hype. Funded by several arts council grants and fusing a bunch of musics that shouldn't be residing next to each other---none of that comes across on the disc. What you hear is a solid, contemporary big band date that sounds like it's played from the heart by a leader and crew that care. First class sitting down jazz all the way, listen first, read second. This is simply a dazzler throughout.

ANNE METTE IVERSEN QUARTET/Milo Songs: It can be a little nerve wracking when you're the guy writing the checks and you want to let creative people be creative, but when they deliver for you, the results can easily be quite gratifying. Here we find Iversen basing a whole album around a song her two year old made up when he was two. Fear not jazzbos, it works. With Iversen being a name you can trust, there's no reason to approach this as anything other than a left leaning jazzbo having the utmost respect for your time and wallet. Well done.

DAVID ADAM BYRNES/Premium Country: A young honky tonker that's definitely proud of his redneck roots, Byrnes has the pipes and the attitude to go the distance. Simply making a fun record that sounds like it's from the heart, Byrnes is that kind of act that has the stuff to be a game changer as it's more than time for country to go country again. Nu new traditionalist? Whatever. This is the real deal and real country fans will know it. Hot stuff.

BOY WITHOUT GOD/God Bless the Hunger: Jazzbo turns pissed off nu folkie and turns in one of those genre bending, mixmaster session where Herb Alpert bumps up against Eric Andersen out takes and Townes Van Zandt world weariness. Made for the youngsters who have taken left leaning music to heart and made hits out of records that otherwise would have fallen through the cracks, this is the kind of wild stuff that fuels late night smokeathons that end in solving the problems of the world.

GRADY CHAMPION/Dreamin': Contemporary rocked up blues that you have to pay attention to, Champion has been quietly building up a discography that keeps getting better and hotter each time out. With a sound and fury that would have been at home during Muddy Waters' west side Chicago prime, this cat hits hard and fast with snazzy sounds that sound like aural street fights he's going to win. Often over the top, there's no roadhouse or frat house that contain this bad boy. A head and shoulders above and beyond anyone else in this race, this is just killer stuff that almost any blues fan won't be able to resist. A winner throughout.

MIKE ROOD/The Desert and the City: Your parents both are symphony members and you are an instrumental tyro. What would do you to rebel? Why pick up jazz guitar, of course! Finding that instrumental sweet spot that resides between ECM cool jazz and Windham Hill new age, Rood will find favor with fans of the classic sound of each of the labels. Every inch the well raised child prodigy, Rood is a current master of sitting down music that demands your attention, and he's just starting out. This is a cat you want to be able to say you knew all about back in the day ten years from now. Well done.

VIEUX FARKA TOURE/The Secret: A second generation Mali music master also has a bunch of admiring rock stars more than happy to show up and lend a hand making this ethnic record much more accessible that other projects of this ilk. Kicking off in high spirits, the scion does the father proud with a date that says party in any language. A wild fusion date of sorts, it is the kind of game changer that takes nu world beat to the next level of the game. Open eared fans of real music will have a hard time putting this one down.

ZUBATTO SYNDICATE: Been digging up those old Mahavishnu records but thinking some of them sound a little dated? This bunch must have been thinking the same thing. They sound like a young Mahavishnu making records now. The same muscularity that powered cats like Cobham and Goodman is running through the grooves here. Certainly not a tribute or an homage, this is a bunch of cats playing music that works for them. A fan sourced recording, you can tell just from the liner note shout outs there's a lot of people with a few bucks in their pockets that feel the same way. The vibe is alive and the sound is in the pocket. Check it out.

Volume 34/Number 204
May 24, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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