CAROL SABOYA/Belezas: Although her pop is lurking the background, Saboya isn't looking like daddy's girl this time around. Kicking it out on a set of tunes by Ivan Linz and Milton Nascimento that are as much a part of her musical DNA has her father's (Antonio Adolfo), Saboya straddles a line between southern hemisphere authenticity and northern hemisphere accessibility that drives this date home with ease. Highlighting her nimble vocals more front and center than past efforts we've heard, this set is a stone cold winner that features these works in ways you've never heard them before but is totally welcome. Hot stuff throughout, even when she tries to cool it down.
DOUG BENSON/Smug Life: Benson hits it out of the park as he's perfected his suburban stoner persona (?) delivering his latest 4/20 comedy show in cooked and uncooked versions so you can compare how he does. Nice concept. Well, he's funny either way. A delightfully smoking (ha ha) set from the cat that was always making wise cracks from the back of the class room and has only found his chops getting sharper as not letting go of your childhood is becoming more and more of a badge of honor. His fans are going to love it and spread the word. Great laughs for the young, the young at heart, and the stoned.
FOUR QUARTERS ENTERTAINMENT
ERENA TERAKUBO/New York Attitude: Born in Japan in 1992 and already with her well received debut in the rear view mirror, Terakubo gets Kenny Barron, Ron Carter and some others to get in line and power her alto sax into a nu classic of old man jazz. Hitting the ground running with a powerful Barron composition, the party rolls along in fine form after you've gotten the chance to strap yourself in as this comet of a rising star plays with chops deep beyond her years. A winner throughout, Terakubo casually pushes the envelop with a sly little toe inching it along without you even being aware. Certainly a delightful ear opener.
SANDRA MARLOWE/True Blue: Here comes one of those nice surprises that are coming along more frequently in the deconstructed record business of today. An evocative jazz vocalist from the Bay Area rounds up some local, first call jazzbos and a good time is had by all--including you. More classic thrush than contemporary diva, Marlowe knows how to give the jazz vocal classics a good run for their money. The band has that summer jazz sound just right as they bring up the rear. A tasty set with nothing to prove that just wants to deliver and good time within the margins and succeeds on all counts. Well done.
JACAM MANRICKS/Cloud Nine: Manricks makes you wish we were still living in a time when music was one of the main drivers of the culture and he would be celebrated rather than be another cat fighting for his piece of the pie. A stellar sax player that could spent the rest of his career on auto pilot and not draw any negative criticism for it, his writing and playing are so on the money that you know his next release will be more than just another one in the series. Spurred on by a certain timelessness that will always keep this set right in the moment, jazzbos looking for some good, solid music won't be disappointed by anything on display here. Hot stuff that delivers.
STEVE DAVIS/Getting' It Done: This bone man puts his old man jazz hat on, serves a little Coltrane and pop, but mostly keeps it original and gets a groovy daddio vibe flowing in full force. Tasty, easy going stuff that can turn into an absolute burner when driving home from work on a summer Friday afternoon, this is the stuff. Nothing much to do here but sit back and enjoy.
TIM "TOO SLIM" LANGFORD/Broken Halo: A record where your hippie grandparents and your hipster friends can meet on a common ground and ignore you is what's on tap here. With instrumental prowess that sounds like anything that a fan of John Fahey's off beat sidekicks would love and vocals delivering the point home for hipsters, this slide dobro set is way off on the left side of the ledger but a clear cut mind blower for the discerning listener that wants out of the ordinary but not precious. You also get solid proof why this cat is one of the pre-eminent slide guitar players working today. It's not for the masses but it is a feast for the true believers.
LIVE AT RAVINIA
STEVE MARTIN & THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS: What can you say about a cat that has pulled off one of the greatest third acts in contemporary show business? With a record account in profit that could have been cross collateralized and a successful movie career that has sold millions of movie tickets, when Martin wanted to turn a long standing avocation into a new vocation, the business turned it's back and told him to go do it himself. And he did. From the early days when he was bitching about losing $12k a show to make it happen through the dazzling success of today, we'll never know if he had a plan that was well executed or if luck really is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. Since last trodding the Ravinia boards, Martin and the gang have copped a Grammy, swept all the bluegrass recognition here is and played for POTUS last 4th of July. And then they hit the stage running and really brought it. An utterly state of the art contemporary bluegrass show, Martin's celebrity and banjo passion have brought a new recognition to bluegrass and also taken a crack crew of players that would have blossomed in obscurity later telling their kids to take out college loans and turned them into the stars they deserve to be. With Martin looking less befuddled this time around and retrofitting about 80% of his wild and crazy persona into the interstitial song raps, there's no way a great time wasn't had by all. Everything works so well because everyone is raising everyone else's game. You don't have to be a bluegrass fan to have this raving good time turn your head. It was a dead, solid perfect evening where every real music fan was sent home happy. Just a wonderful evening.
Volume 35/Number 248
June 26, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record
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