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CAROL MORGAN QUARTET/Blue Glass Music: Morgan takes her trumpet downtown, runs into Matt Wilson and Joel Frahm, they open a can of whup ass on some jazz classics and the result is a new experience for old and new ears that don't mind some art mixed into their jazz as long as the playing is right and tight. A tasty side trip for all involved.

SANDY CARROLL/Just As I Am: Nepotism cuts both ways. Sometimes it gives a schlock artist a platform they don't deserve, sometimes it let's the world know about Jim Gaines wife as he produces her in fine style. The cd opens with a sonic crack to get your head up and it doesn't back down from there. A blues belter with r&b in her bloodstream, this set is on the money throughout. A high octane date with an overall positive message, letting some Nawlins/gospel into the mix as well, it's a dandy ear opener making you glad that Gaines fell for more than just a pretty face. Check it out.

ALEXIS PARSONS: Art chick cabaret stuff where the singer just adds a piano and does a lot of down beat classics only stopping to come into the present with a Marianne Faithful collaboration of a generation back. Must listening for all fans of the tortured artist effect.

LISA MAXWELL/Happy: What's that saying, you just can't tell a cd by it's cover? Looking more like a mom than the last time out (not that there's anything wrong with that, especially if that's what you are), Maxwell finds the ingénue voice that Eden Atwood should have found 20 years ago if she wanted to be 6 years ahead of the jazz diva pack. With an innocent but skilled voice leading the way thorough a solid set of jazz oldies, Maxwell makes a solid, straight ahead jazz vocal set that avoids all the clichés of lite jazz and simply delivers a winning set from all involved. With smart backing from Keith Ingham, who knows a smart vocalist when he backs one, the vibe is so right that this becomes irresistible. For jazzbos that just want to enjoy themselves, this is the real deal.

IAN SIEGEL & the Youngest Sons/The Skinny: In northern Mississippi, whether you're white or black, the blues is a family business, and this bunch of locals with blues in their bloodlines back up a young white guy that can growl contemporary blues with the best of them. With tide and time bringing things forward for these cats to give the blues a contemporary spin, they lock in the groove early and it works until the end. New stuff for new ears that hit's the target early and often, this is proof the future of the blues is in fine hands.

SYLVIA BENNETT/Sonrie: 50 years ago it seemed like it was obligatory for vocalists to do a Latin album somewhere in the course of the contract. Jazz vocalist Bennett goes that route, and even if she had to learn the Spanish words phonetically, this is no obligatory album. The tracks are generally familiar ones, except for the originals, and she brings that something extra to the proceedings. A nice, Spanish flavored jazz set that goes heavy on the romance where even if you don't know what she's talking about you get the flavor, this certainly adds to any mood that needs the right mood enhancer. Well done again.

TED ROSENTHAL TRIO/Out of This World: Creative, straight ahead jazz piano stuff that finds Rosenthal leading a crew that likes to play with the standards giving them the special sauce it needs to sharpen up the staples and make them tasty anew. Featuring the straight up, straight ahead playing that's been chased into the bars and lobbies of well heeled resort and business hotels, it's groovy, it's swinging and it cooks throughout. Hot stuff.

STEPHEN DAVID AUSTIN/A Bakersfield Dozen: Oh, yeah, this is nothing like what you would expect. An old guy that's been working the back 40 for quite a while rounds up a bunch of cow punks and LA roots players and displays his love for Buck and Merle but he does it through the eyes and ears of Kinky Friedman and Chinga Chavin. So left of center, it's a must for subversive alt.country fans that like seeing the envelope pushed so far it tears. This is a great set to play just to see if the people around you are paying attention. Anyone who bought the 30th anniversary edition of "Sold American" will get just what's going on here. Fun stuff all the way.

Volume 34/Number 325
September 23, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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