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THE FUNK ARK/From the Rooftops: You've been digging in the crates and you find that "Grazing in the Grass" led you to "Soulful Strut" and that led you deeper into the Young-Holt Unlimited crates where you found they were doing stuff that didn't seem like it but was way ahead of itself. The Funk Ark hangs with Thievery Corporation, who know how to dig in the right crates, add world beat, good vibes and a lite summer funk vibe just right for an endless summer where the temperature is always right. The result is this easy grooving funk that keeps the party going whether you know/realize it or not. Not a something for everyone kind of set, it's got a tight focus on party people that don't want to go home but aren't putting the peddle to the metal either. These rare grooves are so well done you can taste them. Hot stuff throughout.

NICK JAINA/The Beanstalks That Have Brought Us Here Are Gone: So, here's a hip cat that takes yet another tangent on his way down the road. He writes ten songs and invites ten left of center chanteuses along for the ride and follows through on the nu cabaret promise of 1988 period and beyond Leonard Cohen. The dead pan dollies deliver something akin in spirit to Cohen's early gargle with razor blades sensibilities and Jaina, who writes ‘em but doesn't sing ‘em here is the consummate man behind the curtain. A wild ride for today's malcontent who thinks Nick Cave is old hat, college kids everywhere have a new touchstone to call their own.

ART BLAKEY/Jazz Messengers-A Jazz Message: Possibly the two most controversial albums in the Blakey canon, people either hate this or chase recent but already out of print import editions of the individual albums in this twofer for big bucks. One set is believed to really be a Sonny Stitt session. Does it matter? These are two swinging jam sessions with A list players on board who have only gotten more revered in time. The entire twofer is a handful of tracks because there's room for everyone to stretch out and show what they've got. Impulse was trying to do something different out of the gate with a cat that knew how to change with the times giving him a solo spotlight rather than a group setting. Dig this, these sides are as integral as anything he recorded for Blue Note, Riverside or Concord. Blakey took it seriously when Duke said it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. Here's some for ya.

Volume 34/Number 260
July 20, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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