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ANDREW ATKINSON QUARTET/Live-Keep Looking Forward: Back in the day, any established jazz label would have been thrilled to have this live set on it's roster. Then a few years ago, when we were going through the sea change, an album like this would appear under it's own aegis and you weren't sure why a set like this was a free agent. Now that the dust has settled, everyone has to be their own patron of the arts just out of self defense. This drummer led crew is on the money throughout with a straight ahead set that blazes forward with chops and energy to spare. High octane stuff that sounds wise beyond it's years, this set hits all the right notes again and again. Well done.

NAPPY RIDDEM/One World Sovereignty: Simply a first class party on a platter in which we find pomo and alt coming to black music as reggae mixes it up side by side with James Brown, Parliament and a host of one world future sounds that find their basis and soul in soul music, R&B and the future of rhythm. They are here to get the party started and they forget to punch out---or do they? Killer stuff that anyone with a pulse at any age can get down to. Check it out.

ACOUSTIC ALCHEMY/Roseland: For their first new one in four years, the crew runs in a load of electronic amperage but basically knows how to keep it in the groove of smooth jazz loaded with special sauce. Still not putting up wallpaper after 25 years of delivering the goods, this is a mature record for mature fans that have weathered the storm with this crew over the years. Upbeat, buoyant and bouncy, this is a spirited, sprightly romp that anyone looking for some happy jazz is sure to enjoy. Well done.

DEREK SHERINIAN/Oceana: The go to rock keyboard man of the last few decades is known to the uber fans if he isn't exactly known to the masses. If you like that Zappa inspired jazz/rock that seems to attract rockers on their off hours, this set is certainly right in the pocket. Mixing jazz and prog rock with guest stars that would be the envy of anybody, this set delivers a prog punch like it's 1974, without having to dust it off. Anyone that worships at the altar of the classic keyboard heroes will feel the need to get on board here, even if Sherinian loves having that crunchy guitar right up front.

10 FT. GANGA PLANT/Shake Up the Place: The Planters were always a dandy crew to lively up yourself with, but their last album found them turning in a sublime slice skankin sun drenched riddims that made you wonder if that would be their penultimate album. Wondering is still in force. Once again, they've taken it to the next level of the game with a killer set loaded with skankin riddims and vocal guests that keep it so real you can smell it. If this doesn't sound like one of those 70s Island releases they put out behind Marley to keep it all real, something is wrong with your hearing. Irie to the max! Check it out.

DIGITALDUBS/#1: Ah, yes, reggae from Brazil inspired by the 90s version. A wild ride is in effect already. With spaghetti western overtones and other genre bending elements in the electronic mix, several things that are old are new again. An engrossing take on world beat coming to world beat, this hypnotic set is clearly that something out of the ordinary you've been craving. First class throughout and waiting for you to crack open the shrink wrap now.

AFRO-SEMITIC EXPERIENCE/Further Definitions of the Days of Awe: Twas the night before Yom Kipper and all through the house...well, anyway, this multi culti jazz crew annually backs up a service before Yom Kipper and here they document bringing airy playing to the cantorial mode as they leave the service stay front and center but the band is in tow. When the band gets to step out, it sounds more like a groove record than a holiday service. Guilty feeling Jewish dads with hot shixa wives might use the skanking riddims lurking here as a way to get the kids to shul with some less kicking and screaming.

RONALD KESSLER (read by Michael Bybee)/Secrets of the FBI: Ok aluminum hat wearers, time to suit up. Conspiracy fans everywhere from the far right to the far left will come together to celebrate this award winning investigative reporter's look at what's lurking in those FBI files. 9 hours of what's what real deal reporting yields a more hair raising thrill ride than any high octane fictional spy thriller. The title should be titillating enough, but if you're one of the many that knows the truth is out there, this is sure to be your Rosetta Stone. Everyone else should be pretty intrigued as well as Kessler finds finger prints where none are usually left. And just how much disinformation did his sources give him? Us regular schmoes will never know what's fact or fiction, but either way, Kessler could be a great thriller writer if he ever leaves politics behind.

THE PIN UP ART OF HUMORAMA: Whether you want to take a stroll down mammary lane with grandpa or are searching for new pomo tattoo ideas, this omnibus look at the various gagsters that brought their pens and inks to the pages of Humorama's various digests from 1938 until the sexual revolution will give you a window into your sexual soul that you didn't know existed and will finally gives rest to the lie that sex was invented in the 60s. Expanding the scope beyond the single artist collections the publishing house has done in the past, this gives a peek under the covers at ‘non-mainstream' work by Dave Berg, Bill Hoest, Basil Wolverton, George Crenshaw and others, as well as the mainstay artists of the genre. Whether gag panels or slice of life renderings, this is a loving look back at all the dead trees that wound up hidden in the back of sock drawers of the greatest generation as some of the greatest fantasies of all time got them through several wars. Fun stuff in delightful overdrive.

Volume 34/Number 292
August 21, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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