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BANG DATA/La Sopa: Just like the rappers were doing it for themselves over a generation ago, street Latin kids follow suit today and these cats make some fully formed, well finished contemporary street sounds that just don't need anything from the majors except money and influence--but the original rappers did just fine without it. A multi culti mixmaster of street sounds, samba, ska and cumbia fly right off the disc at you but the rest of the street climbs on and is there for the ride. Youthful sounds with cross generational appeal, this is fun music that gets any party started the right way. Filled with so much spirit and abandon, this duo and their pals have it on the money throughout. Top shelf all the way

DONNA SINGER/The The Day Off--Escape With Jazz: If you add up the careers of everyone involved here, there's probably about a million years of jazz experience floating around so if this sounds like some cool, finger popping 50s club jazz, there's a good reason for it C'mon, one of the cats here list appearing on Sammy Davis Jrs TV show on his resume. They know what they are doing and that makes this micro budget, after hours, DIY recording work. It's got so much heart and passion that it's unstoppable. Not just for grandpa, anyone who digs some real playing at the kind of smoky joints that no longer exist will have a great time with this romp. Check it out.

EYAL VILNER BIG BAND/Introducing: I don't know how and where a big band can make a living these days, especially in New York where there's so much jazz the remaining club owners can be as miserable as they want, but it's nice that cats like Vilner not only wan t to keep the sound alive, but they come here from overseas to do it and they make such a great sound. Mixing originals and chestnuts, Vilner has all the classic moves down so well, you might just find yourself thinking you are listening to some actual old man jazz that was made in real time--then. Snappy and snazzy, he never makes you feel like less than a daddio filling your headphones with some great, hip sounds that really dazzle. First class all the way.

SEBASTIAN GILLE/Anthem: ECM has been the king of the hill in cool, German jazz for 40 years and when they can find young sax men like Gille to step up, Pirouet seems to be positioning itself more and more to make a move on the crown. The cool sound of today is well emphasized here on this date that could easily lay claim to having it's roots in ECM but charts a course to tomorrow as well. First class sitting down jazz, this is where eggheads and cigarettes come together giving the possessor of both the oomph to make goo goo eyes at the adorkable nerdette across the room. Go for it, hipster kiddies.

HENNING SIEVERTS/Symmethree: If you look closely at the cover, you get tipped off this is a bass/guitar/trombone trio. The bass player is the leader and writer and he is firmly a member of the cool school. An understated set that lets the trombone move to front and center, cool school fans looking for some young blood have a winner here. Tasty, sitting down jazz that knows all the right and smart moves.

KATHY KOSINS/To the ladies of Cool: Kosins has been laboring in the vineyards for a while making solid jazz vocal albums but this time around, the love is in the air from all quadrants. A tribute to a virtual Mt. Rushmore of 50s super thrushes, Kosins tips the chapeau to Chris Connor, Anita O'Day, June Christy and Julie London, making a load of signature songs her own but keeping the original spirit alive and well. As unique as the career moves she's been making all along, Kosins does the looking backward to look forward thing here in fine style. She even puts actual lyrics of Johnny Mandel's "Hershey's Kisses", originally an O'Day scat and gets the composer to sit up and pay attention. Hot stuff that does a fine job of celebrating cool. Check it out.

JENN RAWLING & BASHO PARKS/Take the Air: Great Googa Mooga! Where do albums like this come from and why do they take so long to get here? Ostensibly a folk duo that only started playing together two years ago, Waterbug has reissued their debut album that just blows you away. Breaking down the perimeters of folk, Americana, roots etc, this duo's sound is almost like nothing else almost moving all those lonesome cowboy records into the isolated present where ‘connection' is as artificial as everything else. If you preferred Gillian Welch to Shirley Manson, this path less taken is waiting for you and as you take the path, the moonlight will keep you safe. Stone cold killer stuff.

AKI TAKASE/New Blues: A Japanese lady that is recording Germany and has hung out with a load of free jazz cats makes a new set of free jazz that could land right in the pocket of some of the angriest purveyors of the sound in it's history--but she does keep commerce in mind. A ‘friendly' kind of free jazz that doesn't make it a challenge to listen to, Takese is a first class leader getting some open minded cats to do the right thing while giving them the freedom to push the limits. A solid date for the open eared, this is some killer next wave stuff that shows the proper respect for the future and the past. Sitting down jazz to the max with the bar raised as well.

Volume 35/Number 155
March 24, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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