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ZEITI/Zemelewa: Rebellious, indigenous music with beats from the Ivory Coast will have the average gringo thinking this is some cool, contemporary Afropop with international influences, but this is the work of a multi culti crew that sinks their teeth into Afropop and funk making a music of the streets that might not be your streets but shows how music is the international language. Wild stuff for wide open ears that need a careening ride through some new, exciting back alleys. Check it out.

ELIO VILLAFRANCA-ARTURO STABLE/Dos Y Mas: Cuban piano and percussion jazz masters come together for a low key fire of a date that finds them playing off each other in that special way pros with nothing to prove can do. A tasty, adult jazz/world date that doesn't need embellishment, this is a super date for when the power needs to be turned down and the vibes are given free reign to flow. Simply smashing , especially when you are in this frame of mind.

NEW MONSTERS: Nothing really monstrous about this Friscocentric jazz date where bass man Steve Horowitz is the leader and sax man Dan Plonsey is the head writer. A delightfully off beat set where the music is fairly linear but marches to the beat of it's own drum. A little out of the ordinary but not far from the mainstream, the playing is on the money throughout and the change of pace is welcome. Check it out.

EHUD ASHERIE with Harry Allen/Upper West Side: When you can't tell just who is the leader on this duo date why is that Allen gets kind of a minority billing? And just why has this sweetie of a date been sitting in the can for 3 years? Screw the weak economy! A sublime face off between two jazz cats at the top of their games on piano and sax, the set list focuses on oldies but goodies and I guess I'm not big Apple enough to know what exactly these songs have to do with this particular New York neighborhood, but god damn is this a classy session (does that answer my own question?). Must listening for when the grown up in you is escaping. Killer stuff.

DOUG WEBB/Swing Shift: So pay attention, the sax man is backed up by Stanley Clarke and Gerry Gibbs and has Larry Goldings dropping by to tickle a few ivories. Interested? No seventh galaxy tours here, just hard hitting swing on originals and covers that add up to a killer listening date people who want it hear it done right will flock to. Tasty stuff that doesn't quit or wear out it's welcome, this is solid contemporary jazz that is in the pocket throughout.

CHRISTINE SANTELLI/Dragonfly: Veteran singer/songwriter comes in self releasing her eighth album, a set that would have been at home on a first tier folk label like Waterbug (high praise indeed). Solid, straight from the heart and mind songs that leave an impact and create vivid impressions, this lo-fi set has what it takes to live forever on satellite radio loft stations and always be welcome. Solid throughout.

FRANK CARLBERG-CLAZZ ENSEMBLE/Federico on Broadway: A new rally point for people who like Eurosensed, left leaning experimental jazz that is too white to sound inspired by AACM but is out of the ordinary nonetheless. This sounds like music for experimental, big budget films. Not church basement music but certainly not mainstream either.

MAC ARNOLD'S BLUES REVIVAL/Live AT THE Grey Eagle: Hands down, this is the real deal. Justifiably the blues male artist nominee for this year, this is a return to the old school Chicago west side that's more than a nostalgia trip and more than a curio time piece. Pure kick ass Muddy/Wolf howling at the moon with a killer crew in tow, (this time a pack of authentic hitters that made the moves others learned), this is the answered prayer for the straight up blues fan that needs it hot, heavy and directly from the top shelf. A killer live date throughout. The house is rocking, be sure you're in it.

Volume 35/Number 88
January 27, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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