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ALEX GOODMAN/Bridges: This young jazz guitarist has released several impressive albums in the past but this one stops you in your tracks and makes you utter an involuntary ‘goddamn!'. Very much an angular, thinking man's jazz date, Goodman has got the vibe of those certain 50's cartoons where the line would go nuts to a jazz score and move your mind somewhere well out of the box. Tasty stuff that might not be easy but certainly isn't a challenge to listen to. This cat has plugged into some universal, cosmic vibe that'll get you under it's spell whether or not you like sitting down jazz. Killer stuff.

TOMMY IGOE & The Birdland Big Band/Eleven: It's one of those you had to be there things, but now it's byte size, just right for a cd player near you. Igoe's perpetually sold out Friday night show at Birdland comes home on this outing and the crew simply smokes. Raving it up on just about any jazz flavor you want, Igoe's crew are mostly all leaders in their own rights and the sparks fly. Killer stuff that reminds the casual jazz fan why he became a fan in the first place, this sets the new gold standard for big band in these times. A sweat inducing workout where the good vibes just don't quit---and you won't want them to either. Check it out.

KATY BOYD/Paper Hearts: There's something about living what you write that adds the blood and humanity to the work and Boyd is one of those singer/songwriters that walks it like she talks it. Coming back to music after a while away and finding herself in the midst of a bunch of Nanci Griffith hands, Boyd is one of those golden low key fires that burns like the original Chanukah candles. Practically a distaff Billy Joe Shaver, this is some of the meatiest songwriting this side of Townes Van Zandt. If you love the genre, be sure to check this out, it's a winner throughout.

ERIC MARIENTHAL/It's Love: An interesting, personal kind of album. Yep, you get a load of saxy, love songs, but the basis of this album is Marienthal looking back at his career and rounding up cats he loved playing with---even if it's been a while. The soulful sax soars and it's a bunch of smooth jazz you can skate on without worrying about a wipe out. He knows his stuff and delivers goods, plain and simple, but with lots of feeling.

GUY DAVIS/The Adventures of Fishy Waters--In Bed With the Blues: Staking out a territory somewhere between Mark Twain and Shel Silverstein, contemporarily traditionalist bluesman Guy Davis comes in with a two cd audio play where the music is just as important as the words, but it's almost like a modern day take on a Brer Rabbit kind of thing, even though it's not necessessarily for kids. A highly ambitious undertaking that's not just creative for the sake of creativity, this is wonderful forward looking look back that's really going to grab your thoughts and interest. With a vibe as old as the griots, Davis carries this one man tour de force to the utmost extremes. A killer set for blues fans looking for something traditional that doesn't take them to sweet home Chicago one more time. Check it out, this is so cool it'll drive you nuts. By the way Chicago heads, Davis will be at SPACE in Evanston on 2/5. Be there or be square!

JOHN RAYMOND/Strength & Song: Here's a debut from a young trumpeter that's produced by Jon Faddis with Gerald Clayton and Gilad Hekselman along for the ride. While he's certainly digested his share of modal period Miles, he knows the score well. A tyro in his high school and college years, which recently ended in 2009, he moved to New York and made his presence known to those in the know. A solid set for contemporary ears, this is a young jazzbo that's going to be lighting fires in his wake where ever he goes. Hot stuff.

SUE HALLORAN & KEN HITCHCOCK/I Can Cook Too: The hype sheet says they've been working together forever even though this is their first recording together. The simpatico shows as the sax man let's the jazzy lady shine with her songs and she gives him the space to let the flights of fancy take place. With a bunch of New York well traveled cats bringing the large combo to a boil, this is massively fun stuff for anyone looking for a crisp, solid sounding jazz vocal date. Highlighting the usual lounge war horse song fare, they make it sound like the old pals you love to see at the local watering hole when they show up for an extended stay. A winner throughout.

TREASURE TRAIN: Here's a charming pic for the kids starring the ol' Mickster as a screwy train engineer that going to restore his old engine so a bunch of kids can take a Cambodian stray back to his home. A sprightly and delightful pic you can bet the kids will get your money's worth from as it has easy repeatability and just right flow to keep the kids under control as they sit there memorizing the lines. Fun stuff.

Volume 35/Number 92
January 31, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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