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e.s.t ESBJORN SVENSSON TRIO/301: Originally to be part of a cycle before Svensson's scuba diving related death, this ECM flavored piano trio date show why the group was just hitting it's stride at the time of the tragedy. First class egghead, sitting down instrumental jazz, this is music for when you want to be alone, with the headphones off.

MARK BRULAND/Beeing Human: The proverbial corporate droog who wanted to drop out and lead a simpler life, Bruland ditched his corporate job in LA, moved to rural Wisconsin and tossed himself into doing what he really wanted to do, make music. Sounding like he ate Paul Winter and Eric Tingstad records for breakfast on a regular basis, hopefully the move to rural Wisconsin has been a financial winner as well as this set shows it to be an artistic winner since living off the land only isn't always all it's cracked up to be. Got a retro new age/chamber music jones? This'll take care of your sweet tooth in fine fashion.

EDDIE GOMEZ/Per Sempre: Even after 50 years, Gomez can hit the record button with a pick up band he met on tour and make beautiful music without pulling on nostalgic strings. A true bass ace, Gomez makes a masterful sitting down jazz date that that isn't intended to be mellow but can mellow you out easily. Clearly in tune with some higher chord, this is just what the sitting down jazz doctor ordered. Well done.

MANUEL GALBAN/Blue Cha Cha: The late power house of Buena Vista Social Club obviously didn't know what time was since this 2010 session is as crisp as anything he did when he was inventing bachelor pad music half a century earlier. Deceptively sounding like Ricky Ricardo music, this is so much wider, deeper, and wilder that it needs to be a cd-dvd combo pack. A gorgeous session that any real music fan will love, it's a trip around the world, one byte at a time. Certainly one of those last word moments in Latin jazz.

MIKE STERN/All Over the Place: Stern has the magical ability to make music that tends toward difficult but you don't feel like telling him to shove it. The guitarist brings a bunch of stellar pals on board who play like they welcome the chance to take chances and do so in admirable style. Left of left of center fusion, Stern and his guitar are capable leaders and guides as they take you all over the place with joy and abandon. A must hear for the creative listener.

PAUL MARK & THE Van Dorens/Smartest Man in the Room: The Jeopardy answer: David Peel goes from New York to Memphis but stumbles through the gates of hell instead. The Jeopardy question: What does Paul Mark's new album sound like? With passionately delivered pissed off lyrics sung in front of a would be 70s arena rock bunch that have packed it in and headed to Memphis for the high octane blues-rock experience, Mark doesn't hide what he is, a pissed off middle aged guy that wants to rock out. The Internet will find the like minded audience that will support this. Just because the gray haired guy with the pony tail isn't mixing it up on the streets of Chicago this weekend doesn't mean he doesn't have a plate full of concerns that are addressed here, directly or indirectly.

ROYAL SOUTHERN BROTHERHOOD: What can you say about an old school Neville, an Allman scion, Mike Zito and some other pals banding together to take southern jam rock into the new times? How about ‘way cool'? These guys totally know the moves but they don't paint by numbers. Something familiar yet totally new, this bunch know how to kick out the jams royally. Tough stuff that fans of the genre and the families will dig right out of the box.

JIMMY BOWSKILL BAND: Tyro guitar blues rock shredder steps up to the mic for his 5th album. Lots of elders who know spit from shine have already given their seal of approval to the proceedings and by all accounts, they seem right. High octane blue rock bashing that keeps the spirits high.

SCARLET RIVERA & TOMMY EYRE/Café Champagne: If that's a recent pic of Rivera on the liner, the years have certainly been kind to her. How fitting that it fits in with the theme composer Michael Hoppe has here, forward into the past. A new ager trying to be relevant in changing times, Hoppe composed a set of elegant dinner music for the Titanic era when things were more gracious and civilized, at least in the ivory towers where these sounds were at home. Trumping every gift shop record that tries to do something like this, this triumpherate in charge here turn in a collection that would warm Ian Whitcomb's nostalgic heart. This is a record you want to have on hand when you want to feel like a grown up and the time to put on Barry White is still a few hours away. A winner.

THE SPY FROM CAIRO/Arabadub: This is one of those magical albums that we'd rather you go listen to than try to explain to you. It starts out sounding like some ethnic, middle eastern folk music but quickly jumps into something that's been playing in the back of your mind for years without really articulating itself. Mixing dub into Arabic sounds and vibes, Spy has come up with one of those wonderful soundtracks to a movie that hasn't been made yet and is delightfully out of the ordinary. Special by it's uniqueness alone, this has that special something NAC albums had when they first appeared 30 years ago. Check it out.

Volume 35/Number 209
May 18, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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