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JOHN DAVERSA/Junk Wagon-The Big Band Album: You can't delve into big band without giving the past it's due, but Daversa is making big band music for now, with it's own vocabulary and syntax but avoiding all the clichés that go with being different for the sake of being different. A writer, soloist and leader, Daversa may have gone to school to learn his stuff, but it's the streets and the times that shape it. Muscular, angular and freely careening as it will but never careening out of control, this is new music for now times, but if moldy figs want to open their ears, they are welcome at the party as well. A solid work throughout.

CURTIS FULLER/The Story of Cathy & Me: I don't know if young listeners can handle the emotion of what is going on here. Fuller, one of the great jazz guys in the background for several generations, recently lost his wife of forever and pours his loss into the music. The players are in the moment with him, the music is a eulogy where the sadness and loss aren't evident but the narrations show just how deep the depth of this relationship was. If you haven't been the survivor in a losing battle with cancer, you just might not get it.. If you know the well this sadness comes from, this record will touch you deeply as well. Something in a class by itself.

NEW YORK STANDARDS QUARTET/Unstandard: Four pals, each an important part of the big apple jazz scene, come together once again to roll out the standards, but with their own special sauce spread throughout. A tasty set that firmly plants itself in the sitting down jazz realm with no apologies or equivocations, this is simply straight up, fine listening for any real jazzbo. Well done.

BRIAN LYNCH/Con Clave V. 2: An old school trumpet session, recorded in one day by a bunch of jazzbo with a Latin bent. Coming on with a very New York vibe, this is a set that simply has a classic sound and vibe even though most of the songs are originals. Everyone is on the same page and this swinging set will make you feel like you're in Santruce enjoying rum drinks at sunset. Easy, breezy sounds that are played by people that know and like them add up to a set that can't miss with Latin jazz fans. Well done.

DICKY JAMES & THE BLUE FLAMES/Hard Rain: A bunch of white boys from Indiana forget they're white boys from Indiana and once again return to the roots they never had on Chicago's west side and tear it up like they are at some dive on Madison with the brothers. Going old school all they way, this stuff is too deep to even be called frat boy blues. They know it, they love and they put it on parade quite nicely. They even tip the cap to Pinetop Perkins. They do a fine job of bringing new blood to the old sound.

D. GOOKIN/Spiral Style: Ditching the moodiness of his past recordings, Gookin tosses everything including the kitchen sink into the mix for a trippy set of sunshine pop for an afternoon rave on the beach. A groovy, blissed out trip made for sun worshipping in pomo times, this is simply a wonderful ride from out of left field that shows what you can do with a fertile mind and a bunch of electronics. Check it out.

JOEL RUBIN-URI CRANE DUO/Azoy Tsu Tsveyt: As inspired in his youth as much by old school Jewish music as he was Coltrane, Rubin soaked it all up and now delivers traditional Jewish music that doesn't sound like prayer services. A real clarinet ace, he keeps his ax from being a one trick pony easily and merrily careening from the sacred to the profane. An unexpected treat as the ethnic moves toward the mainstream.

MICHAEL POWERS/Revolutionary Boogie: We know him and love him as a blues guy, and he's certainly racked up the recognition in that area, but Powers changes up here bringing Latin rock ala Santana to the blues planting the roots down in a whole new soil. With loads of licks that sound like lots of familiar classic rock that you just can't put your finger on, since a lot of it came from the fringes as opposed to the mainstream, the blues rock party here is in full swing. Oh yeah, the guitar slinging is front and center and hits the bulls eye every time out. Well done.

Volume 34/Number 266
July 26, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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