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BRUCE FORMAN TRIO/Formanism: In terms of coming out with clean, tasty lines, Forman is in touch with his inner Wes Montgomery, but that's where it ends. Very much a jazz guitarist in touch with his own talents, Forman's first trio date this century yields nothing less than one stellar track after another. High octane without being over powering, this is the league leader for what a contemporary jazz guitar trio should sound like. Killer stuff throughout.

STEVE SMITH & VITAL INFORMATION/Live! One Great Night: Want to sink your teeth into some killer fusion that should have gotten stale a long time ago but forgot to? Celebrating their 30th anniversary with a cd-dvd combo pack, Smith and his current line up are clearly not showing their age. Sailing well beyond the normal fusion boundaries in style, song and spirit, this is enough to get your mind off your underwater mortgage and get your groove on. If the youngsters aren't hip enough to dig it, leave them to their electro dance music, this is what left leaning college kids were getting off on before the original disco tsunami. And this isn't dated so don't go taking these thoughts in the wrong direction. This is the killer sound of jamming before jam bands took it somewhere else. Guaranteed to get your blood flowing, it's time to get down with this non stop, killer sound. This bunch are hard core pros, they can't give you any less than their best---and that's what's on tap here. The dvd is the live show this came from, so, in the end, you are there. Check it out.

JO KOY/Lights Out: One of the things that you don't even notice as a gringo is the lack of Filipino comics in the mainstream. Filipinos like to laugh too, right? Koy is the game changer that's going to bring another flavor into the multi culti palette. There's an ethnic slant to his humor but it's accessible to all which either speaks to his skills or how we really don't recognize his tribe as a ‘minority'. Either that or it's time for everyone to face the fact that people are the same all over. Oddly enough, if anything, he seems like a throw back to the Jewish comics of the 50s. If you ever had an over bearing mom, you will relate. Comedy Central gets it's props for grooming another home grown winner.

SWEET LITTLE DEVIL/world premiere recording: Remember that Hunter Thompson quote about what a bunch of douchebaggery the music business is? How wrong can he be when a 1924 hit Gershwin show is just getting it's first recording. Nowhere in the last 80 years was there anyone who saw any merit in putting out something "new" by a "name" like Gershwin? Sheesh. Once again the label applies the Goddard Lieberson production model to an unearthed, lost Broadway classic, this find is as good as almost anything new currently on the boards of the great white way. With Sam Davis once again at the helm, he leads the PS Classics all stars and their pals through a session that shows others how it's done. A tasty addition to any Broadway collection, we once again have proof that digging in the crates shouldn't be an activity left to rappers only. Hot stuff.

SARA GAZAREK/Blossom & Bee: Hard to believe it's been five years since Gazarek's last visit. In that time, she's learned how to swing. I mean, she's really learned how to swing. Separating herself from the pack of upcoming thrushes, Gazarek steeps this new set in Blossom Dearie but doesn't linger there long enough for it to be a tribute set. Putting the pedal to the metal in ways Dearie never did, swinging with Larry Goldings bringing up the rear, jazz vocal fans are going to be blown away right from the start. A Solid set that never falters as it goes on it's merry way. Check it out.

NERD ALERT!/various: If Minnesota can give us Al Franken and Maria Bamford, why can't it give us the next generation of comics to seep into our consciousness. This particular crop of comics all take pride in being nerds, proof the next generation is waiting in the wings. Will this be a movement? Dunno. Is it funny? Yes, male and female alike deliver the laughs. Humor to ride along in the wake of "Big Bang Theory" this kind of humor is in your face in it's own self-deprecating way. A nice round up of cats that provoke the yuks, there's no one here not worth keeping an eye on.

PROFESSOR LOUIE & THE CROMATIX/Wings on Fire: The good professor and his pals, who have been The Band for over the last 20 years, turn in a rollicking set that prove Joe Henry, T-Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller are the front men for an industry cabal that won't let anything Americana without their stamp on it find the wide audience it deserves. Opening up with a rollicking piano riff that comes storming right out of the whorehouse, it leads the way into a set that sounds like what the original Band's records would have sounded like if they didn't sound so much like a coke/heroin party. Way more contemporary sounding than a bunch of cats with about a million years of combined experience between them should sound, this is the sound and fury that makes classic rock classic. It's bad to the bone and your ears are begging for it.

Volume 35/Number 212
May 21, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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