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ANTONIO ADOLFO/Chora Baiao: You know what I used to hate about Adolfo's albums? When you would try to rip them to your computer and have the album info download automatically, it would either download something in Japanese or something totally wrong. You know what I hate about his albums now? Nothing. The Brazilian piano man knows his way around a special jazz/pop hybrid that's a little of both and just enough of either to make him one of those cats that's always in a class by himself. With a smart crew in tow, he moves out of his comfort zone focusing on some important new Brazilian composers and showing everyone, especially himself, in a fine light. If you find you can only listen to so much Jobim and deSuh, move it into the present and the future with a set that doesn't let you down at all. The host with the most is at it again and totally on the ball.

DAVE ‘SNAKER' RAY/My Blue Heaven: I'm not qualified to tell you if Ray is an acquired taste or not seeing as how I was batshit for Koerner Ray & Glover but these recordings made shortly before cancer claimed him show why he was saying he was going to beat cancer right up until the end. A bit of a stealth final KRG recording as well, this collection pulls tracks from three dates all recorded around the same time with Ohio as their common locus. You could easily call KRG the Velvet Underground of folk music as they might not have sold a ton of records but they influenced everyone who bought one to go get knee deep in the blues, Ray goes off into the sunset here doing what he loved, still vigorous about it as well. This might not be where urban blues began but it is one of the places where it originally set sail from. If you have even a passing interest in folk boom/urban blues, this is the kind of stuff that won't be passing this way again and should be in your collection. A winner right up to the end.

PATTON OSWALT/Finest Hour: It's not that Oswalt hasn't been funny for the last 20 years but recent fatherhood, getting set in the atmosphere of the Rolls Royce contemporary comedy and strutting his recent stuff for a Seattle audience that brought the love, Oswalt really is hitting it in full stride. The punk rock comic with the keen eye for contemporary absurdity turns the mundane inside out keeping the ball rolling like a left wing Dennis Miller. A full on comedy riot, it's like Oswalt had his George Carlin back stage moment at the Playboy Club, dropping the hammer and leaving the assholes behind. A top shelf recording that makes you think the parental advisory sticker might be finally dead and rolling over in it's grave. A must for contemporary comedy fans.

T.J. MILLER/The Extended Play E.P.: Comedy's newest all around go to guy who has come out of nowhere in the last six years takes the original manic energy and fearlessness of young Jim Carrey, mixes it with audio, non-linear comedy ala Firesign Theatre or Conception Corporation and pushes the envelop until it tears. An album of musical comedy as opposed to musical-comedy, the jokes/concepts come so fast an furiously that if one misfires another is right around the corner, but he doesn't misfire! And you probably can't keep up with him. This will leave anyone looking for some nice, linear, stand up style comedy dizzy and in the dust but anyone that can keep up with a rap about Wisconsin that's funny and accurate as hell has found a new left field nirvana. Killer stuff all the way.

SONNY ROLLINS/Road shows Vol. 2: Celebrating his 80th birthday in Boston with pals like Roy Hargrove, Russ Malone, Ornette Coleman, Jim Hall, Chris McBride, Roy Haynes and many more, the old master blows with more wind that a cat his age should have and never sounds like a blowhard even if he does blow hard. And to make it a real birthday, he sends the crowd home with a few minutes of "St. Thomas", one of the hookiest little songs that you never get tired of. A nice way to recapture one of those you-should-have-been-there nights, everyone is up for making it a special night and you know a good time was had by all. Killer stuff from a master and his first call pals.

VLADA TOMOVA/Balkan Takes: Pomo Balkan music? Well, when all that eastern European rebellion was going on 20 odd years ago, one of the things they rebelled against was state sponsored folk music being shoved up their ass. When the dust settled, they realized there was a lot of good indigenous music, but it needed to be mixed with good sounds from the rest of the world for a new stew for a new day. A mixture of belly dance and church basement world jazz for a cantina on the moon, this wily set is a world jazz maximus that hits you from all angles at once leaving you pleasantly dizzy and caught in it's spell. This would never make it to the ‘mainstream' except as a novelty but count on this, as far as world music goes, this is the launching of a new superstar that really has it going on. Killer stuff.

PILC MOUTIN HOENIG/Threedom: The original members of the Pilc piano trio regroup for the first time in quite a while for more of their single minded improv work that seems to have not lost a step over their time apart. First class listening jazz that was made for your head, these guys have that certain something that hits you where you don't expect it and carries you away with it's massive chops that don't have to announce their presence to be known. A high minded set that delivers the goods, if you like it smart and from the gut, this is the hybrid you want. Well done.

MARIA MULDAUR/Steady Love: It's been 38 years since "Midnight at the Oasis", she's got a daughter old enough to have her own grand children and the sweet voice that first beguiled us has weathered and dropped a register or two but if she called with an invitation to watch the camel races, it would take me about a second to jump over everyone TMZ reports on to get there because she's a woman, W-O-M-A-N! and hasn't lost a step. Leaving Richland behind this time out for a side trip to Nawlins, she gets knee deep on the gumbo first hinted at on "Someone Was Watching" and expands it in every direction the Crescent City has to offer. Some people walk it, some people talk it, Maldaur does both here. A high octane, soul shaker throughout that'll have you hitting Amazon to download everything from The Even Dozen Jug Band forward to make sure you haven't missed a thing. She's the winner and still champion.

Volume 34/Number 313
September 11, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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