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DUDA LUCENA QUARTET/Live: Stumbling across this Brazilian pop record is like stumbling across a Tom Jobim record. Low key, quiet fire and a whole lot going on. Sharpening his chops with an appreciation of all styles of Brazilian music, he doesn't let you easily pigeon hole what he's doing, but what he's doing is the kind of pure music purists get a real charge out of. Not quite samba, not quite jazz, not quite ethnic, this is an adult genre bender that gets it's base in world pop but doesn't even like to be limited to that. Fun stuff that works throughout.

BRENT GARSED/Dark Matter: A shredder in the Zappa school of guitar rock mode, Garsed paid the bills by touring with Nelson and giving them their sound and made enough of a rep from that to go his own way successfully for the last 20 years. So, if your guitar wants to eat someone's momma, this is the place to get you up to speed for modern times. A set like this could lead to a whole air guitar renaissance.

JAKE HERTZOG/Evolution: The natural experimental guitar heir to Michael Hedges is back with another set that seems to round off the rough edges and present him in more of friendly, accessible forum. Ready to leave the cult ranks behind, especially since racking up a load of awards and accolades and getting wider recognition, Hertzog is still very comfortable pushing the edge farther out in ways that would make Satch and Vai proud. He's well on his way to being the Coltrane of guitar and this latest set really blows the ears wide open. This is progressive jazz/rock for ears actively looking for new kicks that won't let them down. Well done.

VINCENT LYN/Heaven Bound: I think this is the cat Steven Seagal wants to be. Raised in England, coming to America to sharpen his musical chops, he gets sidetracked into an acting career along side Jackie Chan where he winds up acting and writing the scores. And now he shows he's got smooth jazz/fusion chops as well. A piano man that makes buoyant, fun music that's just right for parties and light moments, this is wonderful kind of moving easy set you need in the car for a problem like Carmageddon where something legal has to chill you out. Or you can just listen to it anytime you need some nice stuff just to take you away. Check it out, it works well from start to finish.

MIKE ZITO/Greyhound: The Texas blues rocker has that Americana edge but it's the blues contingent that awarded him song of the year last year. Back with a sharper Texas industrial sound that's starting to create it's own genre, this is hard core stuff for getting the week off you when it's only half way through. With hard charging licks and anguish in his voice, Zito is there to let you know he's there for you because he feels your pain. A side of southern rock you don't often hear north of the Mason/Dixon.

J.C. STYLES/Exhilaration and Other States: What can you say about this guitar man other than ‘fugedaboudit!'? He thinks this is an organ trio and he plays guitar. And he plays and leads in classic 60s organ trio fashion with loads of swing and style but no old man dust. Simply a classic burner, this is just one of those killer dates that more fun to listen to than read about. Killer stuff that stings like a king b (3, of course). If this classic sound is up your alley, there's nothing here to disappoint. Jump on it.

BRIAN HUGHES/Fast Train to a Quiet Place: Although Hughes has been with Loreena McKennitt for 24 years and hasn't released a solo album of his own in nearly ten, the energy that was missing on her last two albums seems to have turned up here. No one can fault the lass for wanting to exercise more control over her own destiny but it seemed like she was phoning it in, even in the face of platinum sales, and not using this secret weapon of long standing to her fullest advantage. No matter, this record cooks. Mixing something of a McKennitt world vibe with some snazzy, easy jazz, Hughes checks in with a friendly musical companion powered by some sumptuous jazz guitar equally as at home with less being more or walls of sound. First class adult music throughout.

DIZZYBLOOM/Heroes for Ghosts: From Texas they came but they have a sound as down in the mouth as anything from LA or England that deals with the angst of the teen aged middle class. Playing together for the first time in 12 years, they haven't lost their taste for teen angst (probably from eavesdropping on their kids) and deliver the goods that only the locals once knew about so well. With darker prog shadings, these teen symphonies for a down market world hit the nail on the head again and again. A wild right through the new heart of darkness.

Volume 34/Number 256
July 16, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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