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T. R. RITCHIE/Wild Horses: Going from busking at Pike Street Market to kicking it at Kerrville, Napa and Walnut Valley, this unreconstructed folkie sounds like the folk music we’d have been listening to all along if “Alice’s Restaurant” hadn’t become a hit. Ritchie writes, plays and sings with heart and conviction and an innocence that you wouldn’t expect from someone that’s been around a few rough and competitive blocks. A dreamer with at least seven toes on the ground, Ritchie is a very solid link on a very solid folkie chain that somehow manages to command your attention without demanding it. Killer stuff.

THE NEW WORLD JAZZ COMPOSERS OCTET/Breaking News: There seems to be a growing appreciation for nu old man jazz and big bands ala WDR so it’s real dandy to see that we are getting a home grown one of our own, even of they don’t like being called a big band. Sounding like the stuff the grew from Kenton, without Kenton’s foot there ready to be jammed up your ass, these are jazzbos that know how to apply their own discipline and how to fly their own chops to best advantage. The music is the thing, front and center and the blowing is divine. These cats swing and do it like the raging pros they are that are willing to do it for love in the face of bummer economy. Hot stuff.

CHRIS STANDRING & KATHRIN SHORR/Send Me Some Snow: Right out of the box, you aren’t going to know what to do with this nu Christmas album by this jazzy duo that comes in with a wholly original set that veers off the tracks, in a good way, and cuts a whole new swath for holiday music. Will these originals replace the chestnuts? Who knows, but they are a gas. They’ve taken great pains to make a traditional vibe, going so far as to make these songs feel like chestnuts, but it’s original and on the money throughout. You ought to check it out just to give it points for audacity. Well done.

Volume 34/Number 358
October 25, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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