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STRANAHAN ZALESKI ROSATO/Anticipation: A leaderless jazz trio that sounds like they love improv, even if this is secretly practiced to death, deliver the piano/bass/drum sound with swing and sass. The chestnuts are re-imagined in high style and the originals take you to new places, all of which hold your attention with ease. Tasty stuff with the kind of edge that gives it a live/in the moment feel, they might not be breaking any new ground but they sure know how to deliver the goods with flair.

SAM YAHEL/From Sun to sun: If you missed him on tour with Steely Dan this summer you missed a lot. Very quickly becoming the go to guy for B3 in New York, Yahel's distinctive sound keeps him in demand and his versatility keeps him ahead of the pack. A tasty jazzbo outing, even though the trio is the same, this set has a different feel and taste than his last one. Highly creative and always accessible, you've dug his sound behind so many others in the last decade that it only makes sense to enjoy him front and center. Hot stuff.

BILL O'CONNELL/After the Dust Settled: With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in the air, everyone has their 9/11 on. Piano man O'Connell recorded this one track cd in Moscow, dedicated to 9/11 and the recent airport attack in Moscow. A thought provoking instrumental, 9/11 junkies will want to have this impressionistic work in their never again collections.

DAVE SHANK QUINTET/Soundproof: Ever wonder what MJQ would sound like if they were a bunch of white guys that came of age in the 70s and 80s and there were five guys in the group? Of course you didn't. Anyway, this vibe led crew working out on all originals is highly cool. With the kind of resumes that would make anyone jealous, these veteran cats worked out the kinks a long time ago and can play with he kind of telepathy that powers records that never become hits but live on and are beloved forever. A tasty progressive leaning set, everyone here is have a good time stepping up and all you have to do is sit back and reap the rewards. A seriously smoking set that was just made for after hours.

SUGAR RAY & THE BLUETONES/Evening: In a world full of manqué, tributes and wannabes, Sugar Ray is a beacon of atavistic genes that keep it real, Chicago style, even if he's from Connecticut and didn't start kicking it until 1979. Sounding like he was Muddy Waters opening act at the Aristocrat Lounge without sounding the slightest bit hokey, this is nu blues for the neo purist that wasn't here back in the day but has the hat and acts like he was-----but old timers can dig it too! You have to bring your own blue lights and smoke but Sugar Ray and crew handle the rest as if made to order. This is the real deal from a cat that does it right. Amen kiddies, it‘s a must if you have any interest at all in the blues.

FREDDY V/Easier Than It Looks: Cut the guy some slack. Just because he's been the sax man with AWB 2.0 for the last ten years doesn't mean he wasn't good enough for the original crew, it just means he wasn't old enough, as the rest of his stellar resume and cast of characters will attest. Never too hip for the room and always in party mode, Freddy knows his sax inside and out and knows how to find pals that enjoy playing along. A Friday afternoon yuppie special, this is smooth jazz that's miles away from biz-jazz, with funk and good vibes for all. Check it out.

JOHN STEIN/Hi Fly: Jazzbo guitar man Stein has mastered the sound that once took us to clip joints and dives to hear the sound of the night as played by Pat Martino, Wes Montgomery and the rest of the jazz guitar army that made it worth showing up for work the next day a little bleary eyed to pay the cheaper, during the week, cover charge. Opening with a blistering run on "Speak Low", you almost have to check the cd jacket to make sure you're hearing right. And so it goes from there. The cat and his crew are on fire. They are totally in the moment even if they know how to make you feel like a hipster, malcontent ad man right out of "Mad Men". Hot stuff throughout.

PERSUASIONS & FRIENDS/Persuasions of the Dead-The Grateful Dead Sessions: The Persuasions have been doing a run of really cool tribute sets over the last several years and this double album tribute to the Grateful Dead might not be as outside the margins as you think since it was originally issued in the 90s, has been long out of print and has been extended from the original sides. Kicking it off with a version of "Ripple" that'll grab you by the gut and not let go, this gang once again proves they are the masters of the back 40 now and for all time forging a great body of work near the mainstream but not really dipping a toe in it. A bunch of hippies and soul singers come along on this trip to round out the crew's normal acapellistics. This is the kind of set that a great gateway drug for non-Deadheads.

Volume 34/Number 318
September 16, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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