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CHRISTIAN PABST TRIO/Days of Infinity: Yes, Pabst is one of those interesting players that you really have to keep an ear on. Still under 30, he plays like your fave black, piano jazzmen of the late 50s but he does it with an edge that lands somewhere between hippie and pomo. A sweet as pie set of sitting down jazz, it brings high energy in it's wake and there's certainly no dust on it. A little too hot to be cool jazz, it's right in the pocket for some solidly good listening. Simply well done and made for your enjoyment.

IVAN FISCHER Budapest Festival Orchestra/Schubert Symphony : One of those symphonies that runs the better part of an hour and feels like a movie, Fischer brings out all the old school feeling in this work. A fine recording for the classical neophyte that wants to delve deeper but do it off the beaten track, Fischer doesn't make the work impenetrable offering a nice, sonic cushion to sink into and let some fine playing by his orchestra wash over you. This is a nice corner stone addition to any classical collection, new or old. Solid, grown up stuff.

PAUL LEWIS/Beethoven Diabelli Variationen: Long before technology came along, if a muso wanted to do a remix, he had to write some variations. Even an august cat like Beethoven did remixes, uh, variations. Paul Lewis provides the digital remixes that found Beethoven recasting some Diabelli dance 33 times. You thought 6 remixes on a 12 inch was a lot? On top of that, Beethoven revolutionized the variation way more than some goof could revolutionize the remix today. Most of the time it doesn't even sound like you are listening to the same song. Those classical cats were wilier than you thought. Check it out.

KATIA AND MARIELLE LABEQUE/Rhapsody in Blue-West Side Story: Most people can't compete with their younger selves so it's interesting to hear the Labeques return to the scene of some of their greatest triumphs 20 and 30 years ago. Well, the 1980 Labeques better watch out because the 2011 Labeques just plain kicked their asses. Sounding light years away from the previous recordings, the sisters add nuance, wisdom and soaring imrprovs that get you so caught up you actually forget what you are listening to until they roll the original theme back around. These revisits are so majestically imbued that you feel compelled to say that these are definitive interpretations of these two works. A high water mark for contemporary, American classical music, it's almost like the Labeques are Gershwin and Bernstein's best friends. Killer stuff.

PHILLIP GIBBS/The Petroleum Age: Is he inspired by Kinky Friedman or Townes Van Zandt? Coming from a line of original Texas politicos, we say Friedman, but there's certainly that Van Zandt edge in the mix. An original singer/songwriter from Texas, Gibbs hangs those words together in a mighty fine way whether flashing some Friedman wit or getting into more serious stuff. Organic, indigenous roots stuff that is totally on the ball.

LASZLO GARDONY/Signature Time: A jazzbo piano man with a very singular touch tickles the ivories with loads of groove and gives new life to several well worn contemporary tunes while strutting his stuff like the accomplished pro he is on originals that feel like old friends. He might not be breaking new ground but he is making killer records. Fun stuff made for summer sun downs and cocktails. Do yourself a favor and check it out, hes flying at the top of his game.

AARON SHRAGGE & BEN MONDER/The Key is in the Window: So what happens when white boys get together to play their version of civil rights jazz on guitar and Zen instruments? It sounds something like High Holiday music meeting meditation music. A look at very skilled players taking a hard turn to the left.

HALL PASS: Why is it that some stuff looks good on paper, doesn't quite hang right in the theater but is a gas when it come home on home video? Hell, home screens are getting as big as those in jewel box theaters so the size argument is holding less water. Who knows, but this tale of two schlubs whose wives let them out to play for a week with no questions asked will find it's place among the dumb/funny classics. Out of step and over the hill, they can't even rent love at Applebees and the misadventures flow from there. Yep, guys, midlife sucks. Maybe this is a text book to help you ease into it. Fun stuff that aims low and hit's the target. The bluray also comes with a standard copy and a digital copy.

Volume 34/Number 214
June 3, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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