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JUNE BUNNETT & HILARIO DURAN/Cuban Rhapsody: If you want to put your grown up pants on and sit back to hear some of the greatest chamber, non-classical playing and interpreting you can hear, zip that zipper, sit down and shut up and enjoy the tour through Cuba Bunnett and her latest accomplice have to unfold for you. You never thought flute and piano could cover so much ground but these workouts on classic Cuban music take you someplace we're just starting to be allowed to visit for the first time in 50 years. A gorgeous delight that rocks the palacio, this is adult listening that is a head and shoulders above all comers. Hot stuff.

LES DOIGTS DE L'HOMME/1910: Four players with a love of gypsy jazz, and of course, Django, they come up with such a stunning set that it simply blows your mind. Perhaps gypsy jazz from another planet, these guys know the moves and the licks but they aren't restrained by tradition. Don't get the idea this is weirdo interpretations, they are true to the spirit, it's just that they add so much special sauce something like "Blue Skies" becomes a whole new experience. Killer playing right from the heart throughout, this is a must for listeners that think there's no more real music coming down the pike. A winner throughout.

CARLOS DEL JUNCO & THE BLUES MONGRELS/Mongrel Mash: The blues harp ace is still not only rolling along, he's taking pains to keep it fresh two decades in. Maybe ‘pains' isn't the right word as nothing here seems strained. Certainly not blues in the moldy fig sense with Kevin Breit leading the Mongrels through their paces, this is a genre bender that just doesn't know when to quit or where the boundaries are drawn making it a real rouser, even in quit moments. Del Junco proves he makes records because he has to, not because the contract calls for a new one. Killer stuff that keeps the back porch smoking.

WATERMELON SLIM & SUPER CHIKAN/Okiesippi Blues: If you haven't traveled into the alt.blues world of Slim yet, this is a mighty fine jumping in point as him and Chikan bounce off each other with a load of energy and rejuvenation for both. They somehow almost turn this back porch jam into a yuppie contemporary blues date. Without an ounce of self-consciousness between the two, the simpatico is just killer. This date almost defies genre or category other than a real gasser. Deceptively simple, this completely smokes. A winner throughout!

NEIL PEARLMAN/Coffee and the Mojo Hat: Maybe bringing Latin jazz to Cape Breton Celt sounds isn't the stretch Pearlman thinks it is---or maybe you have to be a musicologist to appreciate the nuances and subtleties. If you aren't, you can just sit back and enjoy this jazzed up take on what basically sounds like "Riverdance" and some variations within. Pearlman is a skillful piano man that can go from sounding like classic Ramsey Lewis to a cat vamping on some whore house piano at your fave piano bar. A thoroughly enjoyable alt.adult piano set, Pearlman can call his stuff what ever he likes but if you like some lite piano jazz with lots of whimsy in the grooves, this is the new kid on the block you need to get to know. Well done.

KENNY WAYNE/An Old Rock on a Roll: If Duke Robillard gets behind a senior citizen that's a link to the great rollicking R&B piano men of the past, you better pay attention. It's the 50s meeting the 10s head on as there's no dust on this "Blues Boss" who still knows how to tear it up in grand fashion. Playing with vigor on the corner where blues, r&b and rock all get into a massive knife fight where the winner takes all, Wayne brings Nawlins and the chitin circuit to the big city and a great time is had by all. Check it out!

JASWHO?/Re:Driod Music: A bunch of reigning underground dance producers want to remix Jaswho?'s last album and who is he to refuse an extra chance to escape from the underground? Wildly fun dance remix album that could have him fronting IPod commercials in no time and have him be the next cat to show the music business how it's done in the 2010s as he becomes the next cat to get fat that you basically never heard of.

LOGA RAMIN TORKIAN/Mehraab: The leader of Niyaz goes back to his roots, not so much ditching his bid for international pop stardom with international pop but to dig and get you to dig his indigenous sounds with a modern overlay. Still very much a mixmaster of a world beat date, this is creative, accessible and still out of the ordinary. Not necessasarily for younger world tastes only, this is no less than a wonderful change of pace that keeps the groove going, Persian style. Check it out.

Volume 34/Number 209
May 29, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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