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JOVINO SANTOS NETO QUINTETO/Current: A new set from this Brazilian crew by way of Seattle (the band, except for the leader are all Seattle locals) is all original, dripping with nu Brazil, taking classic forms into the future. With loads of recognition piled on over the last 20 years, during that time this group has remained constant in personnel, here we find Brazil getting a post bop make over with a real New York feel. Tasty stuff that moves Latin jazz several steps forward all at once. Check it out.

MARIO ADNET/More Jobim Jazz: The cat that is Jobim's music's best friend continues to dig deeper into the canon and serves up another outing with no leftovers on the table for the second time around. Taking the advice of one of his previous triumphs that found him digging in the crates, Adnet finds the key that unlocks Gerry Muligan's influence on Jobim and takes it from there. Dead, solid, perfect mainstream adult listening jazz, Adnet surrounds himself with the best players to make this music shine and let's the vibes, chops and source material do the rest. Quite simply a well played winner throughout.

CHIELI MINUCCI & SPECIAL EFX/Without You: 30 years in, 30 albums later, a bunch of Emmys, playing everything for everyone an what happens? Like everyone else, you're back at square one putting out your own music on your own label. Thanks power brokers. Kicking things off with a double cd, one of the leading lights of the contemporary world fusion genre shows that time, tide and a lot of years of bending those strings haven't left him high and dry. A little retro in a very welcome way, Minucci and as many of his original Special EFX pals regroup, with some ringers, and deliver what was a snazzy sound before it got co-opted by biz-jazz. Proving there was more to GRP's magic than being in the right place at the right time with music just ripe for digital as everything was going digital, Minucci affirms his place as one of the greats, which is why he's so busy with high profile projects where you don't see his handiwork these days. A tasty winner throughout. And we'd rather see him on his own, calling the shots, than on some of the labels he's been on since leaving GRP.

LOUIE CRUZ BELTRAN/Paint the Rhythm: Chances are you know Beltran whether you know it or not since his drumming is so profuse and prolific that you can't miss it or avoid it. Kicking off with a riff and vibe that feels like it's right out of Tito Puente, Beltran only knows one speed and that's full speed ahead. A dandy mix of classic and fun, with a first call crew on board, the only people that won't appreciate this Latin jazz gift are people whose ears are covered because their heads are up their butts. A first class winner throughout.

BIG DADDY LOVE/Let it Grow: Long time readers around here know we were into Steep Canyon Rangers long before Steve Martin was. Now SCR's Nicky Sanders is into this group before we are so we take that as an invitation to dive right in. If you are feeling more conservative than that, let's play let's pretend. Suppose southern/country rockers like Charlie Daniels/Marshall Tucker/Allmans were a little more in touch with their nu grass and acoustic sides. These guys were certainly raised on rock, but with roots values. They play with the kind of gratitude that living on the road that goes on forever keeps them from having to have real jobs in anything from flipping burgers to practicing law. And that gratitude shows big time. This crew has chops, heart and the kind of energy that really draws you in. Tasty stuff from down home informed by satellite TV and radio as well as net radio's gaping maw, this is the sound of the nu down home for a country that's still evolving---and will survive. Well done.

ELLIS MARSALIS/A New Orleans Christmas Carol: It kicks off sounding like a Vince Guaraldi Christmas set so you know something is up since Marsalis isn't the kind of player who is going to follow in anybody's wake, no matter how august. A towering presence himself, especially in Nawlins, Marsalis gets down to the Crescent City business at hand in short order, and if you live anywhere else than New Orleans, you quickly find yourself thinking musical thoughts you never thought before. Yeah, even Christmas is different in the Big Easy. Whether swinging the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or wrapping the unexpected in roux and letting it meld, this is a much different Christmas set than you've been accustomed to. And there's only one Marsalis fille on board. This is certain to some spice to your holiday. Hot stuff.

MARC COPLAND-JOHN ABERCROMBIE/Speak to Me: How do you assail the unassailable? The label's piano mainstay teams up with the progressive guitar man for an album of pure duets that has a feel somewhere between chamber music and the ECM vibe that Abercrombie helped fix in the public ear. A sitting down instrumental set all the way, this is well done, high brow entertainment that might not be for everyone but isn't stuffy either. Even if non-linear, it's more pleasant than challenging proving that even "Big Bang Theory" types need entertainment away from Comic-Con as well. The after hours sound of high end pros? Enchanting with it's deceptive simplicity.

KEVIN HAYS/Variations: Solo piano by a cat that even goes so far as to look a lot like Keith Jarrett did when he was that age. Expressing very much the deep side of then Jarrett, certainly without the vocal noise making in evidence, if ever there was a contemporary record made for wine and cheese and pipe smoking, this is it. Dividing the program into three tranches, often repeating a different variation on a previous variation, you can't be a slacker to go along with this piano man's ride. His playing is flawless. It's almost like seduction music for intellectuals.

Volume 34/Number 355
October 22, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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