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ANDREA VENEZIANI TRIO/Oltreoceano: Just when you were wondering if kids today are playing from the heart or just trying to be instant You Tube stars, along comes this young bass player from Italy who set up camp in New York and came to deliver the goods. A solid, sitting down jazz debut, he teams with Kenny Werner, who brings the chops to keep the wheels on the track, and art is born. A tasty, low key session that seems to have ‘brunch music' written all over it, you can't hear this and not say this kid is off to a great start. Check it out.

CHRISTIANE D/Obliquity of the Ecliptic: Pissed off art chick stuff with beats that would probably like to beat you in the deal. If you wear t-shirts that say things like ‘all the cool girls are lesbians' just to raise a ruckus, this is the underground disc you've been waiting for.

MARK ABEL/The Dream Gallery: Well, this is quite the unique piece of art that just might succeed where others have failed. A former New York/New Jersey music producer from 30 years ago since decamped to journalism in San Francisco, Abel ventures into song cycle territory with classical overtones painting his portrait of California. With the pop shadings of Andy Webber, the art rock sensibilities of David Ackles, a certain Broadway theatricality and chops that let him know how to get where he wants to go, the result is an ambitious work that doesn't fail in making you sit up and pay attention. A must hear kind of date for those looking or a cinematic listening experience, Abel hits it out of the park ands lays others who have tried harder and had a longer reach to waste. Killer stuff.

JUNE AND JEAN MILLINGTON/Play Like a Girl: Back when they were snotty, young hotties calling album titles like "Charity Ball" because Korvette's wouldn't rack an album called "Mercy Fuck", how could the Millington sisters imagined what a long, strange trip it would be? Still rocking like kids even when singing about their own grey hair, they don't sound anything like senior citizens playing dive bars to stay in the game. Fun stuff and a nice look over the shoulder for anyone who dug them back in the day.

CLARA RODRIGUEZ/Plays the Piano Music of Frederico Ruiz: The funny thing about this session is that you feel the fit between Rodriguez and Ruiz is like the original fit between Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb. Playing with a passion that keeps her from coming up for air, she delivers the contemporary classic works of Ruiz with a fluidity and grace that takes things to a whole other level of the game. One of those players that makes you wonder how she can make so much sound all by herself, do not go into this date expecting it to be some wine and cheese recital music. Both the principles are on such fine display here that you can't wait for the composer to write some more for this South American piano playing gem to tackle. A winner throughout.

STEVE BARTON/Projector: Art born of pain when Barton was shaking off the death of his father, Marvin Etzoini convinced Barton to do it all himself and let it all hang out. With all the angst an 80s rocker can muster in tow, the statement is well conceived and the passion pours out of the bytes. If you are in a position to need pain brushed away, this is a record that will really speak to you as it rocks out.

ZANA MESSIA/Balkan Soul: Transplanted to LA from Yugoslavia, Messia brings her vision/version of Balkan music to our world and seasons it much differently than a lot of other ethnic records of the same ilk have done. Cabaret leavened with belly dance lite bakes up into quite a heady, sexy session, at least it does in Messia's hands. Fun stuff that could easily pass for Leonard Cohen's late 80 back up band, this might well be the go to after hours record when something delightfully off the beaten path is a must. Well done.

Volume 35/Number 144
March 13, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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