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THIRD WORLD LOVE/Songs & Portraits: A side project of Avishai Cohen, he gets back together here with some like minded jazzbos that have been playing off and on for the last ten years. A dandy mixmaster of a date, the quartet freely genre hops making an eclectic jazz fusion of a gumbo that sounds like it's a tribute to "Kind of Blue" before you realize that's the hook that's got you. Cool, groovy guys that know how to summon up smoky, cellar jazz clubs with small tables and sultry women who escape paying a cover charge, this is solid stuff that really gets your blood moving. You don't often find a crew that clicks like this with such magic in the grooves.

SARAH AROESTE/Gracia: When Madonna was doing her kaballah thing, she should have taken a side tour into the world of Ladino music, a kind of feminist protest music of Sephardic Jewish women that is pretty mind blowing as it's fueled by wild women that aren't afraid of being sexy. Aroeste keeps it traditional, brings it into the present and then uses contemporary mash up techniques to keep it pulsating from the streets. Often sounding like an opium/belly dance dream when it's not sounding like the video music channel they play in casual Indian restaurants, this is a mind blowing set that the open eared world beater will play for all their friends and try to make them believers. Hot stuff.

OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II/Out of My Dreams: This really should be tagged as a various artists set as it pulls show stopper performances of classic Hammerstein tunes from the Decca vaults together. A can't miss set for short attention spanned folk who want to discover some of the treasures lurking in the great American song bag that haven't been beaten to death with performances pulled from the originals and the remakes. After you listen to this collection, you'll think it's time for the jazz divas to elbow Cole Porter aside and jazz up these Broadway classics. How appropriate this collection starts off with "Getting to Know You". Check it out, if for no other reason that you don't want to be a cultural illiterate. BTW-the remastering is a sonic dream as it all sounds like it was recorded yesterday.

GEOFF ACHISON/Little Big Man: Somebody did a good job of eating a lot of J.J. Cale records for breakfast over the years. This Australian guitar shredder knows how to keep the low key fire burning long and bright. This set is a remastered version of an older Oz album that really tore it up down under and went a long way in making his reputation as a blues/roots sensation that knew how to deliver the goods. A self taught tyro growing up in isolation in the outback, he didn't know he had few influences and was charting his own course, so he did. And that's why he's such an original now. Looks like it takes an occasional Aussie to kick Americana in the pants and wake it up. Killer stuff.

JARED GOLD/Golden Child: Dead solid perfect jazz, organ trio that's right in the pocket and absolutely captures the back in the day groove so well that Jimmy Smith is probably right now thinking he's found his worthy successor. Uber groovy without an ounce of hipster, self congratulatory vibe anywhere on it. This is the bomb, circa 2012. If you're any kind of a B3 fan. Gold will not disappoint on this must have recording. And if you aren't any kind of a B3 fan, it's time for you to get hip with this as your guide. It's the most, daddio!

RAJENDRA TEREDESAI/Divine Dimension: These flute meditations sound like Native American Indian introspective soundscapes but the surprise is that they are Eastern Indian soundscapes based on classic ragas. They are performed on flute with nary a sitar in earshot. While Oprah has yet to put the high sign on bansuri flute mediations, since nobody's watching her network anyway, use your own powers of discovery. A masterful player that really knows the art, Teredesai knows the use of white space and melds the sound and the silence into a perfect new sonic trip for those that need music to lead them into the chill out zone. An absolutely wonderful recording for those times you want to take a trip within.

AMBERFERN/Mediterranean: After her hippie conversion, revered 60s Ivory Snow girl, Molly Scott, was telling me how everything is interrelated. These long ago thoughts drifted into my head when first listening to Amberfern's latest entry into their Distant Horizons series. Their take on a Turkish melody sounds an awful lot like one of Paul Winters desert explorations. With the Mediterranean being a sprawling body of water, there are a lot of different textures it touches along the way and you'll get to taste them as this record goes along it's way. An audio travelogue that suffices as thinking mans entertainment, this is wonderful music to get you out of your self and fuel some fantasies that are sure to be on hold until the economy gets better and we finally shake off the new normal. It certainly doesn't hurt to have a wide world of gentility and civility enter your bloodstream every now and then and this recording is loaded with the serum to do so. A winner in the chill/world beat groove.

UTE LEMPER/Paris Days, Berlin Nights: Her kid might be in his 20s by now, but Lemper is still an internationally reigning MILF all the way. With backing from the Vogler Quartet, Lemper makes a triumphant return to ground we first found her tilling in the 80s kicking it out on a Kurt Weill chestnut an imbuing it with a passion and fervor that sails well past performance into a deep place that summons up 1930s Weimar cabarets. Mixing Weill with Brel into a glorious work of despair that is anything but despairing to listen to, you have to think what a mind blowing mentor Lemper would be to "American Idol" contestants who think bombast means talent. Easily her best, most recharged date in years, Steinway gets extra credit for going beyond their original mission to provide a recording home to Steinway artists that didn't have record deals. With this and Canadian Brass, they've really arrived as a classical label. She's singing in French and German and delivers a set that's a monster in any language. If you've had the misfortune of not falling under Lemper's spell before now, this is a great, new jumping in point. Hot stuff throughout.

Volume 35/Number 162
March 31, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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