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CELINE MOINET/Oboe Recital: This set will tell the tale of just how much of an oboe fan you are. Moinet is at the top of her game, but this is a solo recital. She knows her stuff but this is one of those instruments you really have to be committed to both as a player and a listener to make it work with oboe and nothing but. Take this to the bank, Moinet does her part of the deal here. If you ever want to hear what Sunday afternoon wine and cheese sounds like, this is a grown up record you want to have around.

ALEXANDER MELNIKOV/Shostakovich Piano Concertos: Melnikov is a master of the piano and this set shows everyone and everything off to nothing but the best advantage. A lively reading throughout, this almost sounds like too much fun to be a set of serious classical works. Whether a classical fan or not, this is a wonderful choice for some instrumental music that might not normally be on your radar but plays out simply irresistibly. A winner throughout that shouldn't be missed.

AHMAD JAMAL/Blue Moon: Now in his 80's Jamal is still able to kick it out on piano like he did back on Chess and Impulse. With a left leaning swing, an industrial Caribbean edge weaving in an out and certainly no sign of arthritis, the kick off release on the classical mainstay's new jazz label is a worthy maiden voyage for such an august meeting of minds. Even when Jamal is playing something familiar, you might not readily recognize it, and throughout, his fingers sound like they are smiling, if you can dig that. Delightfully forward thinking stuff for the cocktail lounge on Mars.

THE MOONI N THE GUTTER: So let's roll the clock back 30 years. This was the pic Jean Beineix made after hitting it with "Diva" when Gerard Depardieu was the reigning anti-star and Nastassia Kinski was as toothsome as it got. A burning tale of obsession and rage still smoulders and is sure to singe the finger tips of anyone that hasn't scene this before. If you haven't seen it, you are in for a thrill ride as this is a product of the golden era of the French cinema revival. This is the kind of close character drama Hollywood always wants to make but misses the mark in the process. True cineastes can enjoy the template as it's rolled out here. Well done.

CONTAGION: As decorated and recognized as he is, Steve Soderbergh is actually under appreciated. He can make commercial pics, small pics, thinking man's pics and anything you can throw at him. Here we find him returning to his ‘sex lies and videotape' roots in a fashion. He's made a commercial pic that is so accessible to today that it was actually too hip for the room in theaters. Bringing it home will be another story altogether. With some ‘Ice Nine', some "It" and a whole lot of paranoid blogger that knows people aren't getting the truth, Soderbergh gives us a tale of a germ that runs out of control and painfully kills everyone. If you missed this in the theater, you will dig it at home. The first call cast hits their marks and you will be biting your nails on the nail biting thrill ride. Stevie S does it again.

Volume 35/Number 72
January 11, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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