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DARRYL HOLTER/Crooked Hearts: With renewed attention on 60s flavored roots music in the wake of Levon Helm dieing, Holter fills a real void. A folkie that was there and has enough pull to rope in a lot of star power on this set, Holter is more concerned with the flow and the quality of the album that grabbing all the songwriting credits, and the attention to detail shows. Whether recording songs Dylan wrote but never recorded or resurrecting his home boy John Koerner with a classic from the classic "Running Jumping Standing Still", this set about the dark side of love in all it's forms hits you like a blast from the past you almost forgot/didn't know existed. For such a glum flavored album, it has amazing charm and repeatability. Holter has been flying high under the radar for a while but this set makes his qualities and virtues firmly undeniable. Killer stuff throughout.

RAY WYLIE HUBBARD/Grifter's Hymnal: Half a lifetime away from "Redneck Mother", Hubbard is nowhere near going gentle into that good night. Still a hell razing, dyed in the wool, four on the floor Texas sumbitch existing somewhere between the poetry of Guy Clark and the darkness of Townes Van Zandt, Hubbard is more talisman than artifact and there's a few whippersnappers out there that could learn a thing or two about being a bad ass from this original. With as much Nelson Algren and Jim Thompson in his writing as Texas songwriter, this ain't the stuff for your yuppie pals with their heads up their asses, this is for white people that want to keep it real. Clearly a monster.

LOT 50
LOUIS DURRA/The Best of All Possible Worlds: A contemporary take on the traditional jazz piano trio, this crew has been playing together for two years at a trendy LA restaurant. They have used their crowd pleasing tricks for good instead of jive ass evil on this recording. The had a spot on the jazz tribute to Radiohead and they have the skills to sell some other cuts on that line to non fans quite easily. They also know how to mix Dylan with Morrisette with originals. Quite a delightful set to come home a chill with as this cat leaves no stone unturned when it comes to tickling your ears. He shows he has what it takes to go down as a real master.

IBRAHIM MAALOUF/Diagnostic: Transplanted from war torn Lebanon to France as a kid, Maalouf established his own vision of world beat drawing influences from the Balkans to Brazil into his trumpet. World beat that sounds like the soundtrack to an unmade picture, this is compelling sitting down music for those cognac sipping moments when you need a soundtrack for your sadness. Rather than picking it apart to play ‘spot the influence', it's better to sit back and let the vibes wash over you. Wild stuff that'll give you the sonic adventure you didn't bargain for but probably have been hoping for.

BOBBY BROOM/Upper West Side Story: On his first all original composition album, Broom might be celebrating the section of New York where he grew up but he seems very much in touch with his inner Wes Montgomery. Putting his signature style right up front and center, his long time trio have no problem letting the boss strut his stuff proudly. Another dazzling record in a series of dazzling records, Broom is every fret the first call jazzbo guitarist that one can be---and he has nothing to fret about. Tasty, straight ahead playing that would keep you from heading home if you heard it coming out of a club. Hot stuff.

ELISABETH KONTOMANOU/Secret of the Wind: It's art jazz/art chick time as vocalist Kontomanou teams up with gospel flavored jazz piano lady Geri Allen for a stripped down, from the heart set where Allen is almost hanging out to add coloration behind the singer's big vocals. The song list takes you from Tony Newley to Curtis Mayfield with a vision and a focus that supports the human element and crafts more of a message than you might think. Those looking for a new jazz vocalist that fearlessly puts it out there will know what's going on in this piano/vocal face off right from the git. It might not be for everyone, but fans in this pocket will know they have a sitting down jazz real deal.

MAGA BO/Quilombo do Futuro: A lot of the sounds you've grown to love started out as street sounds growing out of the decay of the culture around it. Somehow it took root. There's a lot of teaming streets in Brazil and this neo sound that fuses what it likes from the past with what available right now kicks you just like reggae did 40 years ago. You might not know what they are singing about, but right from the snap of the opening raco raco riff, you know you aren't in for a set of resort beach music. A snazzy contemporary southern hemisphere fusion, it's time for the forward thinking to rethink what they think about Brazilian music. This is a right on look into the future.

MIRIAN CONTI/Nostalgias Argentinas: Blame it all on that Montero girl. Showing off...playing the Obama inauguration. Making people wonder what other women know how to tickle the ivories in a classical vein down there. Conti's agenda here is to make you an expert on indigenous Argentinean music in the course of an album. She's focusing on works that are part of the musical DNA down there but are rarely heard in the states, with most of the works having their roots in the 30s. One of those soloists that can fill a room with enough sound by herself, this is a must for classical piano fans that never really considered the world beat aspects of classical repertoire (is classical really a borderless music? Except for a few tango flourishes...maybe?) Tasty stuff that tastes good and is good for you casting a winning spell throughout. Check it out.

Volume 35/Number 196
May 5, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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