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07/09/11---The oddest day of the year. Think about it.

KURT METZGER/Talks to Young People About Sex: If you aren't familiar with Metzger, the smart ass album title could cause you to gloss right over this set easily thinking it's something else. Don't judge a digital file by it's tag. Metzger is a contemporary, angry comic disguised as that friend of yours that gets blasted on two beers and becomes fearless with the unexpected coming out of his mouth. Upending contemporary annoyances like Cash 4 Gold stands and the rest of the detritus on the landscape, he delivers the under the radar jabs that are a little to the right of ‘oh no he dint' but still make you laugh hard enough to made soda come out your nose. Fun stuff, available digitally only.

ELSPETH SAVINI/Flights of Mind-Pensamientos en Vuelo: This record took three years to make, it was done with arts council money and IT SOUNDS NOTHING LIKE YOU'D EXPECT SOMETHING WITH THAT HISTORY TO SOUND! A smoking Brazilian jazz set, you'd expect this to be something summery and sultry, but it's a protest record in disguise. You really have to applaud this kind of ingenuity. She sings, she swings and the set cooks. Who'd have thought civil rights jazz could ever sound like this? Wild stuff.

BRYAN ANTHONY-GARY NORIAN TRIO/A Night Like This: Still a youngish cat, this jazz vocalist took time off from school in the late 90s to tour with Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Nelson Riddle Orchestras giving him a special cred to tackle the Great American Songbook classics. Bringing his own style to the fore with a sympathetic, swinging trio bringing up the rear, the special sauce he brings to the proceedings is simply an ease with and understanding of these tunes. It's easy and intimate without an ounce of lounge schmaltz or bombast just letting the music speak for itself. This guy's got it. Check it out.

MIKE PRIGODICH/A Stitch in Time: Nothing like surviving cancer to kick start your career. Prigodich pulled it off and realized that now is the time to carpe diem so he raised some bucks, brought the next generation of fusion jazzbos into the fold and started writing up a storm. This smoking fusion date is right in line with all your faves of the past, speaking it's own piece while being an apple that doesn't fall far from the tree. Check it out, there ain't nothing that's gonna stop this guy now.

SWEET BYE AND BYE/world premiere recording: In 1946, Vernon Duke, Ogden Nash, S.J. Perelman and Al Hirschfeld got together and put together a play that closed before it got to Broadway. The indefatigable Tommy Krasker has spent 25 years bringing this score to disc from the time he first discovered the manuscript gathering dust in the Warner warehouse. Spreading the credit around for making this happen, Krasker and his team have perhaps finally found the greatest musical theater score never before recorded. Set in the time of America's tricentennial, an old time capsule is unearthed and the frivolity goes from there. Presented in musical play form, dialog in tact, this mind blower takes you back to the time before Andy Webber ruled Broadway and writers really had something to say. This was a flop? Unthinkable. Follow the adventures of Solomon Bundy through time and enjoy a treat that's not a forbidden fruit but one that was out of reach for far too long. Just give Krasker his Grammy now and let's all go home. Top shelf all the way.

GWENDOLYN/Bright Light: I know we should be kissing Lady Gaga's butt to get access so she can tell us what she told every other noos source out there, but we prefer spending our play time chasing outsider music. Now out with her 4th album, 8th overall, Gwendolyn may seem like a wispy outsider but she does have a day job as composer on "Weeds", is writing for Broadway and hangs out with a hip LA gang that has nary a hipster or fauxhemian in the bunch. Like a pomo Tammy Wynette, she sounds like she sings it like she lives it with a smart folk/rock, country rock backing moving the songs along beautifully. Way too polished to really be an indie recording, Gwendolyn sounds like she could be opening on tour for Michael Hurley, but only for the exposure. A thoroughly delightful find, Gwendolyn is one of those rare ones that's singing right to you and hitting all the right chords along the way. Don't try to categorize her music, she a top shelf singer/songwriter at her core and this stuff is going to touch you where you live. Killer stuff.

Volume 34/Number 249
July 9, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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