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KOTTARASHKY & THE RAIN DOGS/Demoni: A Balkan beatologist decides to do some reverse engineering on what we would think of as a multi culti fusion as he brings his electronic gear and his pals deep into the woods to show the luddites how today works. But they effect him as well. Delightfully nutty world beat that never zigs where you expect it to zag and plays with your head throughout out. It helps if you have forward leaning world beat tastes and views to get the most out of this set that often seems like it's about to go off the rails but is merely taking wide turns with abandon. Check it out for something completely different.

BEN POWELL/New Street: And here's why this country needs to have programs that support the arts. Powell is a youngster that is following in the tradition of Stephane Grappelli. Grappelli's career had hit a rough patch of what, 30 years, where he was playing hotel bars trying to be gracious while accepting tips and halfhearted praise from hoi polloi who had no idea who he was. Is this a career path? Powell is a little too old to be the reincarnation of Grappelli, but god damn, of all who came in SG's wake and tried to be/beat the master, this is the kid that has it all. He has so much in fact that one of the crews on this Grappelli tribute album is the Grappelli Tribute Trio consisting of Powell, Gary Burton and Julian Lage! And they play a song Grappelli wrote for Burton 40 years ago that Burton has never before recorded! For anyone who has ever been to the Hot Club only in their mind, this record is a stone cold, solid, non-stop mother fucker! Classic jazz violin has it's new gold standard/standard bearer. If you love Grappelli, you will love this. Check it out. All that and Powell is still young and releasing this on his own. Probably as good a businessman as he is a player.

BRAD HATFIELD/Uphill From Anywhere: What would really make a white boy sing the blues? How about being paralyzed? That hasn't stopped Hatfield from being one of the top blues attractions in Ohio and drawing the attention of some of the Vizztone front line blues cats. Gritty and certainly coming from an anguished soul, this singing harp player hasn't been deterred from giving it his all and doesn't seem to want any special considerations. Writing most of the set card himself, Hatfield seems poised to take on more than the McCoys at their liquored up best. Hot stuff contemporary blues fans that like it hot, heavy and traditional will love. On the money.

MUCCA PAZZA/Safety Fifth: You mean to tell me that my 45 rpm loving pals are making the jump to a full length cd of one artist? And the artist they pick is a Chicago freak marching band that takes it to the next level of pomo with accents from every part of the musical spectrum you can imagine. Oh, say, like late period Maynard Ferguson making some scratch playing college football half times, but on acid or something, this crew merrily does their thing sounding like a Sicilian funeral march one minute and something that would be at home sharing the stage with Andrew Bird the next, with some Felliniesque crime jazz thrown in for good measure. Utterly wonderfully, whacked out stuff any music appreciator with a sense of humor will love. Now just lean your taste a little to the left...

IMANI UZURI/Gypsy Diaries: World beat multi culti noir? Yep, when Jim Thompson novels get a contemporary movie remix, this is the stuff that should be the soundtrack. The singer is from North Carolina but her dreams of world travel as she was growing up show just how powerful the mind can be when you listen to the results here. Music for people that like deep stuff that goes well beyond the top the of the charts, this stuff is made for all the caged birds that refuse to stop singing, y'dig? Wild audio with cinemascope ideals, left leaning adult alternative listening doesn't lean any farther left than this without falling off the rails into precious land. A wonderful ear opening experience throughout by a rising pro that's going to wind up really taking you places you've only seen in dreams.

DENDE & HAHAHAES/Bahia de Todas os Santos: A nice dose of contemporary Brazilian pop that isn't about samba and fuses some upbeat Afro Caribe elements into an easy sound that yupsters will want playing in the background at a sundown soiree where something a little heady is needed. Indigenous sounding enough to be from the streets of the middle of the country, we'll have to defer to Scott Adams for how to place this in context. Our context is that this is cool stuff and we don't know what they are singing about. Feel free to tip your world beat ears in this direction.

DOMINIC MILLER/5th House: Guitarist sidekick to many of the major arena rock stars comes forth with one of the ultimate ‘one for me' records as he and various other arena rock sidekicks convene for a low key, non-new age acoustic date that flies so far under the radar it could give lessons on how to smuggle contraband. Showing himself to be a master of subtlety that is more than welcome in these noisy times, this is the kind of stuff that might seem like background music at first but quickly becomes way to compelling to stay put. Not quite jazz, new age, world, NAC or 3A, Miller assumes his spot as a puckish tyro with graying hair that has chops that can be envied by anyone who wants to be more than a passive listener. A new greening of alt.adult is underway.

SHAWNN MONTEIRO/To Carmen With Love: Her godfather is Clark Terry? How cool is that? Her pop was Carmen MacRae's bass player and that's what leads to this tribute to a singer that is fading into time. With the feeling and the vibe right on target, vocalist and jazzbo backers play like they knew what the real thing was all about. There was scat besides Ella by a singer that knew how to bite into a lyric as well. You will know this set card as a bunch of your old faves, but the special sauce is well in evidence and it's way more than just another oldies collection, even if you aren't hip to the theme right away. Well done.

Volume 35/Number 189
April 28, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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