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KAY KAY AND THE RAYS/Best of: Until being felled by a stroke, Kay Kay was well on her way to being mentioned in the same breath as Koko and Aretha, with a strong social conscience as well that would be right at home with the things going on today. A hard charging soul/blues/church vocalist that knew how to rock the house, unless you were into Texas blues or glued to PBS, where she merited her own hour long special, she probably escaped your radar. Digging this record might just send her the love she needs while she's still around to receive it, y'dig? This is what they are talking about when they talk about a commanding presence.

CHRIS BAUER/In a Yuletide Groove: When a harmonica ain't about the blues, it can produce some happy sounds. Long time harmonica ace Bauer steps from the background of the harp world and sets the table for a dandy holiday treat. If you didn't know better, you'd say this is Toots Thielemanns coming to your house for Christmas every time you put it on. Simply a solidly delightful mainstream take on holiday classics that makes you smile from start to finish. Well done.

JACKSON GARRETT/Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: Nu big band by a crew that has no one named Jackson Garrett in the band. A loose affiliation of guys that have had a hand in the making of many of your faves, from across generations, there's no dust on this bunch as they genre bend jazz and groove into some wild stuff that has a lot on the ball. An adventurous set that is challenging without being difficult, this is pretty much where jazz was going before the biz-jazz mutation co-opted these kind of sounds.

KATE REID/The Love I'm In: The very definition of a working musician, Reid doesn't miss an opportunity to hone her chops whether it has her backing up Josh Groban or singing on cruise ships when taking time off from her duties as an educator. A solid swinging, jazz vocalist that has the classic vibe down so well you'd follow her act to any clip joint where the two drink minimum runs over $50 just to hear what's up her sleeve next. A real treat for classic jazz vocal fans that want something new with a big red ribbon wrapped around it. Killer stuff.

SAVOY BROWN/Voodoo Moon: 45 years on, Kim Simmonds is still at the wheel of the only job he's had his whole adult life. The crew that originally helped bring to boogie to the suburbs has refined the rawness without mellowing. Now more suited for the club at the suburban strip mall with 8 pm shows than the rocking roadhouse that went all night, the boogie is still in effect. Hallmark riffs and licks pepper the landscape and boogie bears who know who they are will know what this is all about. Fun stuff

ERIK CHARLSTON JAZZBRAZIL/Essentially Hermeto: If anybody is thinking of Hermeto Pascoal at all these days, they think of him as a sidekick to Flora and Airto. Too bad. Good thing Charlston and his first call pals have stepped up to freshen and disseminate the works of Pascoal in a fresh, new high octane fashion. Not shying away from the inherent Brazilness of the man's work's just to leave their own stamp on things, they dig the music and the man and they'll see to it that you will as well. A smoking date that you should start playing at 5 pm everyday. Hot stuff.

HENDRIK MEURKENS/Live at Bird's Eye: The twofer jazzman is at it again. Combining the unlikely aspects of Toots and Bobby Hutcherson, the heavy vibing harmonica man is back swinging in full swing letting it all hang out in a club in Switzerland with his samba band. Giving Donato, Gilberto and Jobim a dose of the swing he brings to his own compositions as well, this is not a passive soundtrack for rum drinks on the beach. This is adult music for careening through town with the top down while looking for the next situation to get into. A tasty new special sauce is applied to old, stand by treats and it all tastes great. Not only does the new recipe work wonders, a great time is had by all. Check it out.

DUDUKA DA FONSECA TRIO/Plays Toninho Horta: It seems like it's only of recent vintage that Horta has been picking up the steam with interpreters that Jobim has long held sway on. Not that there's any chance of steam running out of the Jobim canon but Horta seems to lend his singer/songwriter sensibilities well to nu interpreters looking to make names for themselves. Horta's stuff slides nicely right into piano trio jazz, even if the trio is led by a drummer. A virtual greatest hits of Horta's songs, this is a nice ear opener for gringos on so many levels. And the playing cooks throughout. Must listening for when you are really feeling like a grown up.

Volume 34/Number 361
October 28, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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