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3 BRAVE SOULS: Describing themselves as a funk power trio, this aggregation of three generations of Miles Davis sidemen, who have collectively played with everybody, join forces for a fun romp that feels like an off the clock session where the vibe is the major concern---and they let it lead the way. With more bite than a simple groove record, these major league jazzbos deliver a free and easy date that's as friendly as a summer day with low humidity and just the right amount of heat. Tasty stuff that needs to happen more often.

LAC LA BELLE/Bring on the Light: The old time folkies weren't all granola and peace and love as the times might imply, and they weren't the burn outs and charlatans "Mighty Wind" implied. This duo of music educators from Detroit (who make you think they never heard of funk) love early 60s folk music and bring it in an unashamed, unabashed fashion coming across as an idealized version of what was, but with chops and passion that grab your attention and just make you say ‘wow!". Ain't no "Barbara Allen", "Leather winged Bat" or other folk music scare clichés on board here. This is a wonderful nu folk duo that knows how to shake off the dust and the stigma to serve up an incredibly hot session that leaves you looking forward to the next one. Well done.

DOUG FERONY/You Will Be My Music: A cat that likes singing in front of a big band, even if he has to right the checks himself, Ferony is a fan of the Vegas that doesn't exist anymore, and he's a pure gasser. He's heavily into Sinatra but his journeys into the kind of stuff the lounge acts did to look hip is even more enjoyable. Knowing how hard it is to be compared to the originals, he brings just enough cheese to entertain anyone of a certain age that sang into a hair brush in his bedroom mirror wanting to be Bobby Darin instead of Paul McCartney. Playing it straight or winking, Ferony makes you smile and feel good.

AUKTYON/Top: Russian folklore mingled with Goth sensibilities and a break neck, devil may care attitude has had them being a top Russian home grown attraction for two decades. Loaded with underground, malcontent attitude throughout, even if you don't know what they are talking about, the uber hipster will find this comforting music to go to sleep with, and fuel dark dreams. Bordering on a sonic drug trip, this outré bunch knows dada well.

GREG LEWIS/Organ Monk-Uwo in the Black: The second of a proposed three record series of the music of Monk delivers the goods. Monk is immortal, his music is classic. Lewis brings the organ and makes a jumping, organic set. Tossing in a ringer of his own along the way, Lewis and his jazzmatic pals show off their Monk chops in fine style. Whether or not you're a Monk fan, this is an ear opener of a date that's sure to grab your attention and keep it if you have any inkling of left of center tastes in your palette. Solid stuff that works well throughout.

OTMAR BINDER TRIO/Boogie Woogie Turnaround: There's only one problem with these 40 year olds that want to play whorehouse piano. The only whorehouses they know are on the Internet. That doesn't make this a bad thing. It swings mightily, it just doesn't have that something that Tatum and the rest from that era had. Of course, today's young blood won't know the difference. As long as you don't play this for grandpa, nobody will be complaining. Other than that, it's a fun romp made a little more special by most of these tunes being Binder originals. At times, he seems close to mixing up whorehouse with roller rink but we give him an A for effort and we're glad to see the style have such a capable champion keeping the sound alive and vital in the face of all those tired public domain titles starting to flood the market.

DORIS DAY/With a Smile & a Song: To celebrate her 80 someteenth birthday and in collaboration with TCM, Day herself picks through the almost 600 sides she cut for Columbia for this twofer with one disc featuring her movie hits and one disc featuring her record hits and other beloved tracks. Quite an impressive collection for someone that you really don't think about as a heavy hitter in the same league of Sinatra or Presley (but she really is). Her first new compilation in almost two decades, the new mastering brings the vocal twinkle out of the corroding oxide of the old tapes and puts it all front and center one more time. Certainly a great gift for grandpa but young whippersnappers can pick up a thing or two here if they aren't too hip for the room. What can you say, it's classic throughout.

LISA KIRCHNER/Charleston for You: The rising queen of nu cabaret makes yet another bag breaking set that is clearly cutting edge eclectic in it's approach and delivery. A favored singer at political functions on a local New York and national level, Kirchner grabs the urbane ear and doesn't let go. Whether writing new stuff with the guy from "Hair" or breathing new life into the classics, she knows her way around a song with her chops wrapping it in good hands. Vocal fans will know what's going on here right away.

Volume 35/Number 245
June 23, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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