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MIKEL ROUSE/Boost-False Doors: 30 years into a career that finds him being compared to Dylan while getting grants from the John Cage Trust, unless you're an ardent follower of what goes on in the downtown scene, Rouse may have escaped your notice all these years. This double album isn't for those who care about who wins on "American Idol", but it's not needfully for uberhipsters either. Maybe if Dylan, Ry Cooder and Chuck Pyle were jamming in Washington Park today, you might come close to coming in with something like this collection. Well off the beaten path and well worth the trip if you want music that's breathing and full blooded that speaks to you.

DANIEL KOBIALKA/Sabor a Mi: After your grandparents died and you got stuck with the task of cleaning out their basement, you came across these strange instrumental records. They weren't 101 Strings/Mystic Moods cheese. The didn't have barflies trying to look sexy on the covers like the faceless lounge records you found at Goodwill in your ironic phase. They were instrumental but they weren't easy listening. You didn't know what to make of them but they were kind of cool. And that's where Kobiakla comes in with this set of soothing recreations of familiar Latin music classics. You might be pomo enough to call this musical comfort food. Well, it's not new age and it's not cheese. It's a lovely album of beautiful music for anyone mature enough to deal with it.

SAGAPOOL: A bunch of young smart asses start out by jamming together on the Godfather theme and find they have so much simpatico that they take what they are doing seriously and turn into a band that could be the one horse that could pull Windham Hill, Narada or Higher Octave through the morass if they were still in business today. A nu blend of jazz/world/new age that takes what Oregon took from Paul Winter and builds upon that, this is breath taking adult instrumental music that has more than earned all the awards it's gotten in it's native Canada. Despite the chamber music feel, it doesn't straddle classical lines. With a knowing smirk that escapes when things get to serious, this set has so much on the ball that it's probably the new gold standard in adult listening. Hot stuff from the frozen north.

GIBLYTHE/Lost in Space: I probably shouldn't mention that this bunch are a bunch of geezers but it has to be said since they have decided to deal with the post apocalyptical record biz landscape by amusing themselves. With enough jazz and rock first call credits to choke a horse on their collective resumes, they cook up a ska/jazz/rock/crime jazz fusion that not only must have amused them but will amuse you as well. All that's missing is someone announcing this is the nutty sound of Madness. This is the kind of music you get to make when there isn't some gazeech bean counter giving you session notes. Maybe it sticks to the wall, maybe it doesn't, but it is the kind of stuff the breeds nothing less than hard core passionate fans. If you are listening, this party on a platter will certainly reach you. Well done.

DEL CASTILLO/Infinitas Rapsodias: Sometimes you just can't improve upon the bio that comes with the record and the one that came with this says this band sounds like Eddie Van Halen fronting early Santana with an assist from Gipsy Kings. Well, Mark, thanks for doing my job for me. This bunch has been a valiant bunch of road warriors over the last decade but unless you are deep in the Austin scene or read the music credits at the end of the movies, you might not be familiar with them, at least by name. Having opened for everyone and being faves of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, they've taken their rock/Latin/blues/flamenco/world fusion to the greatest heights you can scale while still being somewhat under the radar. This set mixes new tunes with reworkings of past concert faves and gives you a galloping mutha of a non stop jam. This is the must gift item for your friends that love music but shun Top 40. Killer stuff the open eared will love without further explanation. This set also comes with a DVD of some hot performance work as well. Check it out.

BIG SHOES-Walking and Talking the Blues. Ya like the blues? This package will burn your retinas. Packaging music and a documentary about the real blues with the music provided by The Scissormen, a bar band in love with the blues, you get sights and sounds that take you someplace else entirely. A Robert Mugge documentary, there's just nothing here to be faulted or dissected as everyone put out 120% to drive this experience over the top. If this entire package doesn't hypnotize you, I just don't what blues you are talking about if you say you like them. Amazing!

J. EDGAR: Even if you hate Hoover and the FBI, this isn't a feel good movie. In the tradition of sweeping American epics like JFK' and Nixon, this is a contemporary Shakespearian tragedy where the good intentions and the flaws collide with horrendous consequences and lots of fall out. Clint Eastwood has created quite the historical epic and Leo DiCaprio is up for the part that would requite a depth you would think would take him beyond his years. History buffs in general will not be disappointed.

Volume 35/Number 131
February 29, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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