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BAYONICS/Mission Statement: Latin soul that sounds old school but isn't retro. A totally contemporary date, it has a great back in the day feel running through it with it's chicken picking guitar and smooth soul vibe. This is a gasser no matter what era you first came to enjoy soul music. The Latin element is more vibe than sound and fury but it adds the right spice in the right places. Anyone that ever enjoyed music that emanated from down on the corner will get a real charge out of this. This bunch are a bunch of stars of tomorrow. Check it out.

ANDREW SWIFT/Swift Kick: Well, here's the proof that the old line record business is over. This kid comes out of nowhere, rounds up a load of first call cats playing like they want to be there for reasons other than a paycheck and delivers a hard blowing date of old man jazz that you can tell from the sound and fury that it was recorded now. All this and he's the drummer! A hard hitting, front rank date that will open jazzbo ears in need of a new kick, it only takes one listen to this to have one listener tell two friends and so on, and so on... Most definitely one of those dates a real jazzbo will not want to miss. Killer stuff sure to top all those year end/best of lists.

SUNMONX/Power Salad: Who'd have ever thought skankin riddims would make their way into electronica so gracefully? This duo has the dub/bass thing down properly, and then they add more sonic colors from various palettes of their own choosing seemingly often inspired by the burst of the moment. Delightfully atmospheric set that takes you on a trip to a new island that nobody has found on the map yet.

JT COLDFIRE/Always & Never: Hank Jr seems like he never told his kids what to do, especially when they started to make their way musically, but if feels like JT Coldfire is the kid Hank wishes he had. Kicking it off with a vibe that feels like it few right off "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" and sailing from there into hell bend and whiskey bound Alabama goodle boy country this is a set that will keep you up all night. Blues/country-rock/honky tonk that'll wake up every snoozy corpuscle in your bloodstream, there's something here that kick starts every atavistic gene in your DNA soup that ever spent time in a roadhouse at the edge of town. Killer stuff that just doesn't wear out it's welcome. And this was recorded in Sweden? What's in the water up there?

JUDI SILVANO/Indigo Moods: So what makes this album of great American songbag chestnuts different from all the other ones out there? Could it be that Silvano is in front of only a piano and trumpet? Nah. Silvano is in touch with something here. She takes these songs back to the clip joints from where they originally got traction, but she's not emulating the chanteuses at the better clip joints. She's channeling the broads belting it out at the dive bars with all the vulnerability, pain and edge of a nervous breakdown energy that bisexual, single moms with drug habits could muster back in the day. Cinematic in way's you can't even imagine, you might never hear these well worn songs in the same way again. All that's missing is the intro where she details how this song is going out to that someone special, the one that knows who they are even if they couldn't be with us tonight. Whew.

CAROL WELSMAN/Journey: If this record came out between Diana Krall's "All For You" and "Love Scenes", WWF would have had to broadcast the greatest pillow/cat fight of all time. Either that or the two of them would have teamed up for a killer summer tour that would have produced a live album with the staying power "Dark Side of the Moon" once had. With Welsman's trio sounding like they kidnapped McBride/Malone/Nash for a mind meld and Welsman's throaty/breezy vocals, pop/jazz could have taken a very different turn at the turn of the century. Because good taste is timeless, this album doesn't sound dated. Hell, Welsman can even make Willie Nelson's "On the Road" again sound like a breezy, California smooth jazz track, the kind of which you'd hear at an ocean side bar at cocktail hour. This is a tasty, quite delicious album with a load of nice surprises and change ups that keeps you in the moment with it. It's the kind of record you make when you know you've got what it takes to be the queen of the realm. Hot stuff.

CHAISE LOUNGE/Insomnia: They have lounge in their name and they have a certain retro vibe but this is nothing like what came out of the lounge revival craze in the 90s. This is a modern pomo lounge with a retro vibe to set the framework but the picture in the frame is as modern as can be. A sly record on musical and lyrical levels, I hate to call it thinking man's fun because those who skim this will think this is egghead jazz. It isn't. With enough mixmaster involved in the sound not to simply call it jazz, this is solidly left of center modern record that falls short of art rock on one side and short of something to flog at a dance club on the other. It's cool no mater where you want to pin it. It's different and if you are up for something new that mixes Brazil, jazz, witty lyrics and more, you and this record are ready for each other. Check it out.

DAN CRAY/Meridies: Another Chicago kid that traded in a downtown meaning State & Madison for Brooklyn sets up his piano shop in the big Apple where he finished his advanced studies in music and began mingling with the core of the Big Apple. You can take the kid out of Chicago.... Working out with a classy sound that owes it's linage to time he must have spent back in Chi-town listening to Wallace Burton, Cray wear's his transplantancy well and serves up the sophistication on a mostly original set in fine form. Jazz piano is in good hands here.

Volume 35/Number 147
March 16, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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