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MIKE WOFFORD/HOLLY HOFMANN QUINTET/Turn Signal: Wofford isn't kidding with the title of this set as he takes a new direction here playing tribute to players he admires. Very much an adult listening date, this is sitting down jazz rendered in a laid back, stylish way that sophisticated ears will appreciate.

STACY JONES BAND/No Need to Spell It Out: A blues belter that rocks it in a higher register than most of her sisters, she's been wowing them in Washington state picking up the awards like they're litter and she's a tree hugger. A high octane party set where you can even do the white guy dance and not feel self conscious about it when this is playing.

HOMESPUN REMEDIES/Great Depression: Nu Guthrie folkies look for hope in the miasma. Crack musicians working as a writing collective, the Remedies might not chase away the contemporary blues in the air but they let you know there's someone out there in the same boat that understands. Perhaps a modern version of protest music, tailored for the times, the Remedies are a great left of center organic crew that gets it. A chiaroscuro of upper and downer, this is subversively strong music for tough times.

JURGEN HAGENLOCHER/Leap in the Dark: Hagenlocher is a former child prodigy that knows his way around the sax and has been percolating under the general radar for a while now. A delightfully friendly outing, Hagenlocher hooks up with Alex Sipiagin and his pals for a quintet date that comes right down the middle loaded with an underpinning of 50s instrumental attitude but sounding in the now. This isn't music that was made to change the face of jazz, it was made to be enjoyed on those lazy Sunday afternoons when the face of jazz doesn't feel like shaving. This feels like it would go great with Sunday papers and second cups of coffee. Well done.

OCCIDENTAL GYPSY/Over Here: In the footsteps of all the great gypsy guitar crews that have come before, Occidental Gypsy forges a dandy, adult listening path that takes it's cues from the Hot Club but adds and subtracts what's necessary to create a unique and enjoyable sound. With the music purely front and center and everything else in service of the sound, this four piece crew and their pals know the best thing is to let the music do the talking. A fine, new step in the path that tickles the world beat ears in such a suburb fashion. A winner throughout.

OKA !/Soundtrack: Here's the thing I can tell you right now. If you aren't into Mickey Hart, you just won't get this set no matter how well it's made. Some world beaters went off into the bush to set the score for a pic about pygmy drummers. Have I lost you or are you still with me? Ok Hart fans, you'll wonder how he didn't trip across this trip sooner and why someone else had to do it. Ryko could only write so many checks? Certainly it's not a record in the main and the producers themselves say you can't frame this into the mindset of western record making. However, if you want to fire up a righteous chronic and don't feeling like listening to Dr. Dre...Very much an off the beaten track world beat date that the hard core armchair traveler will love, there was no sonic expense spared in making this a first class musical and cultural experience. Wild stuff for those primed to accept it.

ZUILL BAILEY/Dvorak Cello Concerto: Can Bailey do for Dvorak what he tip for Bach? Take it right to the top of the classical charts? Teaming up with the Indianapolis Symphony, Bailey and his long time partners are a formidable match bringing this music to it's fullest with depth, drama and chops that never fail to make an impression and impress. Tackling what many aficionados calls Dvorak's best concerto, there's plenty here for everyone to work with and no one drops the ball. The program is filled out with some other impressionistic Dvorak works and the classical fan has something to look forward to here. Top shelf stuff that enchants and delights.

MARK WAYNE GLASMIRE: Remember those Gulf War era songs you want to forget that made hit records but killed the careers behind them? If Glasmire was around then, we would have had lasting period music that didn't sound like it was ultimately made for Chevy commercials. Loaded with the kind of heartland grit that Springsteen claims to be selling us, whether singing about home, country or other stuff, if Glasmire isn't writing from the heart he's the best bullshit artist to come along in quite some time. Kick ass heartland stuff that leaves you wanting more.

Volume 35/Number 50
December 20, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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