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PIOTR MICHALOWSKI-JAIME RODRIGUEZ MATOS-CHRISTOPHER SKEBO/Dyads: Since all the players are from southeast Michigan we can feel the Detroit influence on their work as this set of duets has the free jazz feel of church basements of 40 years ago---and it is Black History Month and they did study with players from AACM. A must for the minimalist in black clothes with beatnik girl friends.

CHRIS BRUBECKS' S TRIPLE PLAY/Live at Arthur Zankel Music Center: When your daddy is Dave Brubeck and you are going to go into the family business, you better have something on the ball. Chris can't get away from having to deal with jazz, but he opens the telescope well beyond that. Reaching out to all his influences with the help of two pals that have been with him for a long part of the run, they stir up blues, hokum, classic pop and all the stuff that would have made this a bubbling under college act in the early 70s. Playing with virtuosity and dexterity, the trio and their guests know how to raise a holy ruckus and bring the crowd that gathered here to their feet with juice to spare. Offbeat but always on the money. Check it out.

JOHN MULANEY/New In Town: He's 29 but looks like he's wearing his dad's clothes when he cleans up; he's from Chicago but was never part of the comedy scene here, his idea of nostalgia is "Home Alone 2" and he's just about the funniest, straight ahead new stand up out there whose humor is so well thought out that he reaches across the generations with the geezers not missing a beat. With a load of well developed credits already under his belt, this is no well meaning wannabe or flash in the pan who waited 29 years to make his mark and will have nothing to back it up. If you don't know Mulaney by now, he is a laugh riot that could single handedly save comedy if it needed saving. The bar has been set for this comedy year already. Check it out.

THE TOURE-RAICHEL COLLECTIVE/The Tel Aviv Session: It's not fair to anyone to say that this set is nothing like you'd expect because who knows what you were expecting and who knows what pigeon holes you were going to stick the multi culti fellow travelers here into. What we do have here is an utterly charming adult, acoustic date that rides easily between jazz, new age, NAC, and instrumental. This crew is stunningly right on the money, whether it's because they are in touch with their bloodlines or they just have great instincts. A winning adult set that simply should not be missed.

VITCHEV-IAGO/Heartmony: Some times you just have to know when to step back. This is the second outing from this guitar piano duo. The guitar half of it knows how to wander all over the map from solo to big band, but this set finds him back, smack dab in the middle of a killer improv/impressionistic outing where fire flies out of his finger tips. The simpatico between these two is amazing as they play like they think as one and create some of the most breath taking sitting down music you can imagine. A first class date throughout.

THIERRY DAVID/Stellar Connection: I hate it when people think they have out grown their influences and try to wear other skins because of what other people will think. If you were ever a cat that thought space was the place, David is right there with you to relaunch that mind set. Like Tomita and Holst taking on the planets, David takes on the cosmos with some weightless, gravity defying ‘music' loaded with ambient and ambience. Slip this in your headphones and tune out the rest of the world. You need to do it and this is the prescription to take.

FRANK STEINER JR/Into Forever: What can you say about a cat who says his mission statement was to create audio perfume? I give him points for trying to get your attention. What he does make is next stage new wave where he's doing something more than noodling on the synth to create a mood. This set leads you down actual passages in your mind as it guides you along on your head trip. Not ambient, not really new age, not instrumental or jazz, it just might be something new along all these lines and it sure does make for a great relaxation record. Timing out just at the right length for the average massage, this just might be the perfect gift for your massage therapist if you wish she'd finally update that Relaxation Company stuff.

LOGA RAMIN TORKIAN/Mehraab: I am not bloody kidding you. When this world beat date was coming out of the gate in it's opening bars, it sounded like "Gentle on My Mind". I was really wondering where this was going to go from there. Well, it goes back to Persia as Torkian sets himself apart from his last two best selling world music acts and finally comes out with his official debut. The music of the modern souks, you don't need accompanying opium dens and belly dancers to enjoy this music as music. Even if this isn't normally your cup of meat, it's visceral energy will take hold and do all the work as you hang on for the ride. Killer stuff that sets the bar for middle east world beat. A winner throughout.

Volume 35/Number 97
February 5, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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