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NICKY SCHRIRE/Freedom Flight: So what happens when you get an art chick that wants to be a jazz diva and takes the "heretical" steps of modernizing the repertoire for her age group's version of oldies? If she has a right on voice and a vision, you get the debut recording of Nicky Schrire. Quite the international lass, Schrire charts the route of nu jazz vocal/nu cabaret with ease and sincerity perhaps setting the standard for what sophistication will be for the millennials. A dandy diversion for the young and not so restless.

CISSOKO-GOETZE/Amanke Dionti: This set exists in that place where new age and world meet up. A trumpet/kora duo, this pair explore head space with a discreet charm and low key vibe that cocoons you before you realize what they have done. Meditative and contemplative, it's a fine example of chill for adults.

PROZAK/Paranormal: Pissed off nu rapper from Michigan that's surrounded with a lot of Michigan's rap finest is the nu Bob Dylan. Pissed off about everything about modern society and realizing that he's been marginalized to the point of being forced to make it on his own from the margins, he's speaking to middle America a lot louder that those who would have made a buck co-opting him realize. This set turns the corner, rap isn't just for pissed off black people anymore---this is the real mainstreaming of the sound. Hard hitting shit that is the shit!

HANK ROBERTS/Everything is Alive: Something different from the Winter & Winter stable even though it has label frequent visitor Bill Frisell on board and the featured artist is making his 10th outing for the label. If ECM were to collide with free jazz from the church basement, you would have the right idea on what is going on here. Sitting down jazz that pushes the limits, you can be sure that this is an egghead delight but it's also a good jumping in point for someone that would like to explore experimental music without being scared off. There's a rock sensibility floating through it making a strange kind of invitation for anyone that wants to take the trip into the vortex where art and music overlap.
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STONY ISLAND: Back in the good old days of blaxploitation pics, there were some people trying to make hoodie pix that were trying to make a difference. In the shadow of "Cooley High", a bunch of talents gathered together, many making their first pic, and showed a side of the hood in Chicago that focused on music, with actual local legends at the core. While the budget for this pic probably wouldn't get you a belly filling feast at McDonald's today, it is a fine achievement in showing some love to Gene Barge and showing the power of music to overcome a lot. A solid little pic that soul music fans owe it to themselves to check out for at least no other reason that the tunes cook. A delightful artifact that deserved to be pulled out of the crates.

I'M DICKENS...HE'S FENSTER V. 1: A little sitcom goes up against two rating killers on a Friday night 50 years ago. By the end of the season, the little comedy has kicked the asses of the two bigger shows, but the network didn't see it coming. They didn't renew the show in time and the cast went on to other projects. There was a wealth of proven talent on board behind the new comers that were the stars but such is the wisdom of television. The first half of the show's only season is on board here, and 50 years on, if you don't know the show, you'll be glad to got to know it. Still a laugh riot, these two carpenters will have you busting a gut. With every fish out of water situation thrown in every direction, there's plenty here to have you watching the episodes multiple times to catch everything that was going on. Fun stuff that has us looking forward to the rest of the show's run. Check it out.

JOYFUL NOISE: A modern kind of inspirational family pic that finds Dolly Parton facing off against Queen Latifah as they fight for the control of the town choir whose sound is going to lift the depressed area out of the doldrums. In a fight of shaking it up vs. keeping it traditional, the two protagonists lock horns before eventually kissing and making up to head for the heights. Fun cotton candy with some inspirational lite messages posted along the roadside.

NEW YEAR'S EVE: Garry Marshall checks in with a big cast rom com set against a big setting with some timely guest stars from the pop culture realm to make it timely. You know Marshall's stock in trade. He knows the formula, he knows how to keep it fresh and he knows how to keep the bubble factory flowing. Chick pic cotton candy where there's a happy ending and a good time is had by all. By the way, the title tells you all you need to know.

Volume 35/Number 192
May 1, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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