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ERNIE KRIVDA/Blues for Pekar: So why is this cool on so many levels? It celebrates Cleveland/Detroit jazz and the funding came from a local tobacco tax. A tax that actually went to something good and useful???? Killer!!!! A bold brassy bebop date, even if you don't know anything about the back-story, you'll be glad to hear a set like the kind they don't make anymore. A relentless, sax blowing date that'll awaken the atavistic jazz genes in any jazzbo in which a primal chord can be reached. Hot stuff.

CHRISTOPHER TITUS/Neverlution: Always one with a lot to say, it's nice that Comedy Central affords Titus with another double album to get it all off his chest. Pissed off with the state of the world over the last 10 years, Titus hilariously gives vent to subjects that need a good kick in the mouth. The roll off piece to a special that debuts on cable on 7/3, tape the special and you'll be sure you'll want to own your own copy post haste. Titus has earned his spurs as one of the top angry comics of our times. A laugh riot throughout as he says all the things you wanted to say, even if you didn't know you were thinking them. Check it out.

DAVID BINNEY/Barefooted Town: Even when everything about your record says downtown, you still have to go to Holland to get it released. Does that say something about the state of the economy? No, it says more about the state of jazz, and that it's pretty much pretty much the way things have always been. Not mainstream but with less edge than the usual downtown jazz dates, that most in demand sax sideman steps to the fore on his own with a crew of like minded pals that probably can read each others minds pretty well by now. Riding an accessible/progressive tip, Binney leads like the pro he is on this set of originals that keeps the jazzbo fan in the pocket. First class sitting down jazz that goes the distance.

ALEX SIPIAGIN/Destinations Unknown: This trumpeter's mostly original set sounds like a classic Blue Note date. With a host of the downtown usual suspects in tow, you have to wonder if they are going to start getting out pork pie hats and old man suits. Probably not. These are real players digging in the crates for a sound, not hipsters on parade. Simply a snazzy date that captures the spirit of the time and place, you get the feeling that 00s downtown isn't that far from 50s Englewood Cliffs. Well done.

RIVERSIDE/Memories in My Head: Only a prog band can call a 33 minute record an ep, right? Taking their space rock back to jump, fans that will come in from the cosmos to rejoice over this new interstitial release will find their heads amply rewarded. A first class head trip all the way.

EUGENE MARLOW'S HERITAGE ENSEMBLE/A Fresh Take: So, when it's your record company and you want to re-record your debut album with your new pals, who's gonna stop you. Even though the back pages are of recent vintage, Marlow enlists Bobby Sanabria and his new pals to take a new Afro Cuban jazz look at traditional Jewish melodies. I can't tell you how many kids wish they had this at their Bar Mitzvahs instead of the usual corny stuff. The players are all first call cats and the result in a dandy fresh take, just like the title says. Ma nish taan ah, indeed.

DITA PELLED/Plays and Sings: With 10 fingers that are wise beyond their 21 years, Pelled is the jazzbo guitar slinger that Emily Remler should have been. Moving to New York after a stint in the Israeli army (don't go sneaking up behind her after a gig, fellahs) to soak up all the jazz that was in the air, she has wisely chosen to master the building blocks of contemporary jazz before setting off to chart unknown waters where it seems like everything these days is just swimming against the tide. Rounding things out with a pomo Betty Boop voice that easily matches her cutie pie face, she is a jazz promoters dream. A red ribbon package throughout, Pelled is one of the brightest new stars on the jazz horizon. Hot stuff.

ROBERT PARKER (read by Joe Mantegna)/Sixkill: Ok, so I was wrong when I thought the Spenser tome last year was the one he finished just as he died. This was the last thing that came out of Parker's old typer before the old ticker gave out and caused the unfortunate end of the Parker/Mantegna collaboration for audio. Inserting a possible new sidekick to supplement Hawk, Spenser teams up with a Native American that has a lot of Hawk's characteristics, but with a Native American slant. With an actor whose off screen antics almost foretell Charlie Sheen (but way, way worse) as the main problem, Spenser and his new pal have to unknot all the misagoss that makes a Spenser tale a Spenser tale. A fine farewell to one of the top writers of the genre.

Volume 34/Number 227
June 17, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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