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DAN BLAKE/Aquarian Sweet: How in hell does a Ph. D candidate find the time to play sax with so many cutting edge cats from Julian Lage to Esperanza Spalding and still find time to kick it out with his own crew redefining the Kai & Jai sound for now ears? Certainly he's the kind of cat you want on your side, watching your back. This date is straight up, straight ahead jazzbo with it's roots firmly in the tradition and it's eyes fixed on the future. Tasty winning stuff from a cat that's clearly one of the faces of the future of jazz. Hot stuff.

LANDRUS KALEIDOSCOPE/Capsule: The contemporary sax man has so much going on that he needs to invent a group identity to present his semi-fusion activities. Underplaying in a fine style that is a hook in itself, Landrus and his pals merge acoustic and electric jazz in such a smooth way that it just melts in your mouth. Great stuff to kick back with and wind down, the playing and the writing are solid throughout.

DARRYL LEE RUSH: This guy is a great lyric writer but why does he have to paint such a bleak picture of "Las Vegas Christmas Eve"? I can't tell you how much fun I've had there when a third of the town is closed and only the locals and the hard core are around. Other than that, this prize winner that had his debut produced by Gurf Morlix is Texas troubadour all the way. Solid stuff that fans of damn good songwriting are going to love.

ELISABETH LOHNINGER/Christmas in July: A jazzy vocalist that can swing in any language, Lohninger takes a vastly different view of Christmas, viewing it in nine languages with various degrees of swing and pensive sounds in tow. A heartfelt outing from a grown up kid that came from an Austrian village with a population of 25 before satellite TV, she really had to sing for her life---or go nuts. Well done set that strikes all the right holiday chords.

SISTA MONICA PARKER/Living in the Danger Zone: Hard core, rollicking blues mama in the Koko Taylor mode but with a sound all her own. Working within the dictates of the classic format, Parker pushes the bar upward by serving up a fast ball, right down the middle that you certainly won't see coming. Classic roadhouse blues with no dust on it, Parker is a do it all comer that's going to be shaking the rafters in finer roots establishments everywhere in very short order.

BAPPI LAHIRI/Walking on Love Street: Here's an interesting entry for young sophisticates whose jazz tastes were informed by chill and grooves. A multi-culti world/jazz/fusion/vocal date that covers so many bases you're head will spin, unless you are used to multi-tasking. Clearly not an avenue for moldy figs, this is the kind of stuff that'll bring young ‘uns into the tent and get them to stay a while.

STEVEN CASPER & COWBOY ANGST/ Kindness: If you're ready for the real thing, I got your alt.country right here, even of one of his tracks was used in "Twilight". Down home, heartland stuff from a country knee deep in Walmart and satellite tv saturation, this is the sound of heartbreak, the sound of lonesome, and happily, the occasional Saturday night when things work out. You've got to be really left leaning to get it, but if that's your thing, Casper is your man.

CRAZY STUPID LOVE: Once again Steve Carell proves he knows how to read an audience. This is chick pic/rom-com all the way, but it actually crosses over into a date night pic where the fellas can enjoy it as well--and get points if they keep their mouths shut. The marriage falls apart, the hapless hubby has some affairs that backfire and he starts hanging out with a cad who falls in love with the daughter of Mr. Hapless, unbeknownst to both of them---after the cad instill Hapless with all his cadly wisdom. Top loaded with respectable talent that know how to carry the farce along with serious intentions, even when breathing life into cardboard caricatures, this is funny, timely stuff that can take it's place in line with the best of the English bedroom farces. Well done. A new entry in Warner Ultra Violet line that gives you everything from standard DVD to instant streaming.

Volume 34/Number 357
October 24, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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