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JAZZ AT THE PHILHARMONIC SEATTLE 1956: Hey jazzbo, can you imagine how cool it must have been to be Norman Granz? He recorded so much stuff that there was too much to put out all at once and some of it is still unreleased, like this twofer, until now. With all the Verve/JATP mainstays on stage, just the way he reels off the introduction, detailing who's going to play with who and how and when is mind blowing. Then comes the music! Daddio jazz from the top shelf all the way. Everyone is swinging, cooking and smoking showing a lot less age and dust on these tapes than you would expect them to have. This is some first class digging in the crates, finally releasing jazz that really soars. Hot stuff.

JACK KEROUAC/The Complete Collection: Quite frankly, I don't think I'm the only one that came along a few years later that never even gave a flip about reading "On the Road". I still don't give a flip. I thought this twofer would have been Kerouac reading a redacted version of his book. Wrong. It's a poetry and jazz collection of him reading his poems and essays with backing from Steve Allen (?, really), Zoot Sims and Al Cohn. His grand children might not be thrilled that this public domain collection won't generate any royalties for them, but books and books on tape could see a new vogue with hipsters after getting exposed to the readings here. This is wild stuff, like Tom Waits without the janitor in a drum throat. Today's hipsters need to check this out just to see what they really have to compete with. I still don't give a flip about reading "On the Road" but I'm glad I tripped across this collection of prime hipster bravado from the heart of the era. Check it out for a wild, unexpected treat.

HANNIBAL BURESS/Animal Furnace: We know that Richard Pryor isn't going to pass this way again but Buress is set to usher in a new era of black comics. As free wheeling as possible in attitude without having to be as freewheeling in language, Buress goes right for the observational stuff, particularly the kind of experiences in an America where it is a crime to be driving while black. Even if you haven't paid the black tax, Buress keeps it accessible while keeping real and brings the laughs. A great recording debut from a Chicago original.

MATT HILL & THE DEEP FRYED 2/Tappin' That Thang: What Hill does isn't easy no matter how easy he makes it look. A young white boy doing mostly original material has the hunger and the fever to kick up the sound and fury of the first generation of migration, electric bluesmen, keeping it right in the moment, and bowl over the tastemakers right out of the box. If you're still in college, this is a perfect example of what your parents are talking about when they talk about going to the roadhouse at the edge of town like in "Animal House". Blues straight to and from the gut from a young white boy with more blues than he should have. Killer stuff. And to show he pays attention to details, the cover art is a gasser too.

TOMMY McCOY/Late In the Lonely Night: Guitar slinging, middle aged white boy spending more time in Florida these days than in Woodstock doesn't let age, sunshine and inventing a microphone cleaner that will prove indispensable temper his blues, or guitar slinging. With 40 years of well traveled blues experience under his belt, this is a sumptuous serving of yuppie blues that goes well with up market drinks during a night on the town. Deep in a pocket of his own stitching, McCoy knows how to hit it out of the park he's chosen to play in.

MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD/Blues at the Fillmore 1968-69: Raven has done it again. I thought they found some previously unreleased stuff but what they did find is mostly bonus tracks from the Japanese only reissues of the original releases. Crafty! With Nick Gravenites, Al Kooper and Johnny Winter in the mixes and trading licks, this is a highly cool non-album of not out takes put together by a crew that has real love for the late guitarist and still wants to show him at the top of his youthful powers. The guy that set the bench mark for guitar slinging white boys with the blues is on fine display here, electrifying and hypnotizing all the way through. Proof that if you're not a fan, you should be.

JOHNNY BASSETT/I Can Make That Happen: With all the old timers dropping dead in the last few years, the 76 year old who is now only making his 5th album as a leader is the new old timer, standard bearer of the blues. With a Detroit take on the southern show band blues sound, Bassett and his crew are having a fine time that doesn't restrict itself to being right down the middle for blues purists only. He's still got he sass, snap and vigor to sell tales about getting school girls to toe the line. He's out to spread a good time and succeeds admirably. Check it out for a tasty taste of where things are now headed.

JEFF PITCHELL/American Girl: A proven modern blues man, guitar slinger Pitchell is more of a song man on this outing which is sort of a soundtrack to a personal pic commissioned by James Woods. The cover art makes it seem like this pic is an appreciation of retro pin up girls and there's no problem with that. With Jay Geils on board in various capacities, the pop chops are assured and no matter what happens with the pic, this is a snazzy adult pop date with some tasty show band blues in the mix. His winning ways are sure to continue here.

Volume 35/Number 205
May 14, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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