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AMANDA RUZZA/This is What Happened: From being raised by parents with eclectic musical tastes in Brazil to winning impressive music scholarships in the states, this young bass ace is showing why she's going to be a force in the future of bass and Brazilian/funk. Loaded with wise beyond her years moves and style, she knows her Weather Report, she knows her Caetano Veloso and she knows her contemporary jazz. A highly engaging set, there's never a dull moment as she pulls out all the stops to load the deck for this auspicious debut a as writer/leader/player. A smoking funky fusion date you really don't want to miss. Hot stuff.

EDMAR CASTANEDA/Double Portion: The cat that has been reinventing the role of harp in jazz now let's us peak behind the curtain and see he hangs out with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Miguel Zenon and Hamilton de Holanda. Yow, talk about reinventing things, he's hanging out with MacArthur approved geniuses that can do whatever they want. Instrumental music for tomorrow on display today, he's not making a new wave or a new stream, he's just kicking it out with an ear toward tomorrow. Theatrical, sitting down jazz all the way, this is a major party for ears in search of something new and different that's got chops behind it rather than pushing the envelop for the look at me factor. Wild stuff.

ANNE METTE IVERSEN/Poetry of Earth: Iversen knows how to play it both ways, and on this double cd set, she takes it art chick to the max. Composed while hanging out in an artist cloister in Italy, that Euro sense of minimalism is riding high here. Light the lights in the church basement and alert the arts council crew, this is their music throughout.

SAUCE BOSS/Live at the Green Parrot: What would happen if you were to come across the warts and all side of Jimmy Buffet that he never let's his yuppie fans see? Boss is a tried and true road warrior that shows what happens to Parrotheads when they get shit faced and just don't care which way the wind is blowing anymore. Bluesed rock with an industrial edge and enough edge lyrically to warn the parents that he's coming to town for their daughters, Boss makes the kind of party music that only a live album can really do justice as he's interacting with his people. At it forever and obviously not ready to hang it up yet, this is for an aging yuppie more worried about his next mortgage payment than buying his next Fisker. Right on from the gut throughout.

LARRY TAROF/C is for Cosmopolitan: If you wonder what it is about this research scientist's (hence the ‘Dr.' tag) jazz piano that grabs you by surprise, it might be because he cites Vince Guaraldi and Oliver Jones as his primary influences. Easy cats to dig that knew how to bring jazz to the masses. This set ambitious set of originals puts a nice spotlight on one of Canada's leading jazz piano lights who apparently has enough patents under his belt to tell his parents he did what they wanted him to do, now it's his turn. Fun, breezy stuff that sounds like the sound of a cat finally doing things his way and being able to make the most of it. Well done.

CHARLIE HADEN-HANK JONES/Come Sunday: Haden has been taking it to church for over 70 years no matter where his progressive chops have led him and Jones, who was playing on his last date here, plays like he knows he was going home. A program of religious music where the bass and piano don't hit you over the head with the message, this duo with over 160 years of wonderful jazz under their collective belts are simply playing it from the heart for a set of heartfelt music that has a way of becoming more meaningful as the years roll up on the odometer. You hate to have to use the words ‘last session' and ‘Hank Jones' in the same sentence, but there's something about the playing here, where the barely audible Haden yields the spotlight to a real light, that tells you that after all the high spots that nearly a century can provide, this is the way Jones wants to be remembered. Classy all the way to the end. Fare thee well, Hank. This is a fine and noble remembrance.

FRANK D'RONE/Double Exposure: Once upon a time, it really was like it was on "I Love Lucy". A cat like Ricky could have loads of talent and he could make a good living playing the same room for years on end. Such as it was with D'Rone. Shining his brightest in an era when Sinatra was the defining swinging singer and everyone else was deemed a fast second no matter how good they were or who was behind them, as long as you were satisfied with being a big fish in a small pond, you could have a good life. D'Rone chose not to bang his head against the wall. Despite frequent touring and playing class rooms, he called Chicago home. Given the chance to swing once more, D'Rone shows that he's been taking his vitamins in that he's outlasted all his contemporaries and there's just no dust on him. The kind of performance that the Vegas gods are smiling down upon, D'Rone could teach contemporary singers a thing or tow about finding the meat of the lyric in the classic song bag and how to sell that song in even the simplistic settings. If you're hip enough to dig real jazz vocal, this old dog still knows how to bury a bone! Check it out.

FLEETWOOD MAC/Go Your Own Way Live 1977: I've certainly got my doubts about this being a board mix and there's no acknowledgement of Warner Bros. anywhere, who probably would have had the rights to any live recordings of the era, so don't lick your chops about this being a great lost, live album from Fleetwood Mac's golden era. If you bought the Fleetwood Mac scrapbook for half off after Christmas last year, this snapshot of a spot in time will fit nicely into your collection. Hell, all the mid 70 hits are here.

Volume 35/Number 161
March 30, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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