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DANIEL ROSENTHAL/Lines: The trumpet man steps away from his gig in Either Orchestra for a busman's holiday that shows off his affinity for old man jazz that has him standing out on tracks that should have names like "Space Miles Meets the Hillbillies", "Intermission Music at a pre-Castro Cuban Sex Club", "Jai and Kai Would Have Done it Like This" and more. Dusting off a couple of Monk tracks to keep in the spirit of things, Rosenthal acquits himself with high marks for a solo debut. A solid, left leaning winner throughout.

SARA SERPA/Mobile: What would you do, hotshot, what would you do? Would you rather deal with an art chick using wordless vocals to sing about the journey to self discovery or would you rather have to listen to some dingus rave about "Eat Love Pray" yet again? Thought so, at least wordless vocals don't leave your rolling your eyes and yelling "Check, please". Well, maybe not about the eye rolling thing, unless said art chick surrounds the wordless vocals with some smooth jazzbos that trod lightly around the edges of the cosmos and generally keep it real. For the firmly left leaning taste, this is a four star, progressive jazz vocal date.

KEN FOWSER-BEHN GILLECE/Duotone: The sax/vibe quintet comes back with their third set of distinctly New York, old man jazz flavored stuff that is more old man in spirit than in execution. You heard your grandpa playing stuff like this when you would play air guitar in his den with him before you even knew what you were doing, you were just responding to the groove. A true smoking burner of a date, this bunch of originals will ping every atavistic jazz gene in your body and pull you under it's spell with lightening speed. Check it out, this is a first class tonic for the blues.

SEAN NOWELL/Stockholm Swingin': A tenor sax man from Alabama that managed to find that corner on 52nd St where the southern migration brought the church to the big apple shows he knows how to swing it like a real first call player. Kicking it out live in Sweden, the audience knows the swing is the thing and they respond accordingly, as you will too. A straight ahead set that is on the money throughout.

KENIO FUKE/Relaxing Melodies of Nature: I would have given this record a different title. It sounds too much like one of those cheesy, budgie titles where you get a hour of some anonymous goof noodling until the clock and the tape run out and this Brazilian piano man deserves much more than being tarred with that brush and possibly overlooked. A deceptively simple and gentle presentation by a player that seems to have loads more chops in reserve but wants to make good use of audio white space in the process of making his statement, this is the kind of music that goes perfectly with wine, soft lights and fireplaces, even if the closest you can come to a fireplace is a cheesy dvd of one. First class music for the mind and spirit.

BERNWARD KOCH/Silent Star: Am I losing my edge? It's taken me this long to realize he pronounces his first name ‘burn ward'? Certainly I could have milked that for something. Upon the light first hitting the byte on this set, I felt a striking similarity in vibe to McDonald & Giles "Birdman Suite" More brain warping? Turns out that Koch dedicates this set to one of the pioneers of aviation of the 19th Century and it really does sound like drifting through a limitless sky that isn't crowded like now, whether with planes or microwaves, making the blue a little less blue. Far too gentle and soothing a record to describe with words like mind blowing, this is a mind blowing set that is the perfect escape hatch for these fed up times we're living in. By reaching for the heavens of another time and place, Koch really has taken it to the limit this time around. A winner throughout.

RUSS HEWITT/Alma Vieja: How does a guy with such a white boy name play with such a Latin soul? Back with a new set that finds him looking to take his place next to Strunz & Farah, Ottmar Liebert, Johannes Lindstadt and the rest, Hewitt doesn't miss a step delivering something deeper than vacation music that keeps your ears on their toes. Confirming his place as a guitar player to be reckoned with, Hewitt has just the right mix of smoke and fire to keep it caliente enough to keep you coming back without burning your tongue. Well done.

C.J. CHENIER/Can‘t Sit Down: Buckwheat Zydeco may position himself as the heir apparent, but C.J. is the scion and his apple didn't roll too far from the tree. Buckwheat certainly has a handle on traditional zydeco but C.J. is like the Hank Jr of zydeco and he not only knows the music's roots, he sees it's future. Rolling in a load of rock and r&b, quite seamlessly, this set was recorded in one take and is a party on a platter representation of what you get when you go to see what you get. Only missing the spontaneity that comes from the quirks that come with reacting with a live audience, this is all the sweaty good time you would go to Fitzgerald's or Continental Club or where ever to let bon ton roulette. Even if you aren't a genre fan, this is can't miss stuff that's sure to grab you.

Volume 34/Number 283
August 12, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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