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MONDAY MICHIRU/Soulception: Here's a change up that will confuse, oh, everyone. With her crowd sourced funding days behind her, the Japanese art chick hooks up with a real label that is interested in pushing her forward. Of course, she hooks up with a label known for finding and releasing the crème of current Brazilian jazz and instrumental music. So, who wouldn't have an underground dance art chick hook up with Brazilian jazzbo hungering and yearning to beat free? A bleeding edge session for all involved, it's a well executed fusion probably running well ahead of the curve that probably won't be fully appreciated until the deluxe edition comes out a few years from now when hipsters will have finally caught up to it.

THE IMPOSSIBLE GENTLEMEN: From the opening notes, you can't help but think this bunch really has something on the ball. Then you pay a little more attention to the packaging and see that this is an international jazz super group with about a million years experience between them. That's why they can sound like anything from a 50s piano trio to a cutting edge progressive group---because that's where their various chops have been scattered along the way. Joyful playing with nothing standing between the music and the listener, this stuff is so cool it can turn anyone into a hipster in a flash. Check it out, these pros not only know the way, they laid the new cut road in the first place.

MARION JAMES/Northside Soul: The title might be a little confusing to northern soul fans, but as the queen of Nashville soul/blues, you have to remember her turf is the north side to the real down home bunch. Coming out of the box like one of the classic Stax/Chess soul queens of another era, she's got no dust on her and is bringing the traditional blues/soul sound into the present with an uncorrupted eye on the future. You like your new R&B singers as apples that don't fall far from the tree? James is the real deal sitting at the top of the barrel. Hot stuff that gets the job done.

ALLEN THOMPSON BAND/Salvation in the Ground: This Nashville based bunch has an affinity for slightly pre-country rock 70s California ‘organic' rock, and executes their vision well. With a grass roots thing so well organized that it was covered by Forbes (ah, not so radical these days since Bono owns a piece of it), this bunch could well emerge as masters of the new paradigm. In line with when singer/songwriter was in an interstitial phase, this is a solid dose of regular music for regular people more concerned with the vibe than the trend.

KENIO FUKE/Spirit of Nature: Fuke changes up the vibe a touch on his latest effort making this a friendlier, wider appealing piano led date that calms the nerves in a sensitive a fine style, loaded with simplicity that touches and enchants. Recorded in Brazil, maybe dealing with a sun that doesn't have to fight it's way through all the things we have to deal with in this hemisphere really does make a difference in one's outlook. Tasty, adult listening throughout from someone very comfortable with putting the sound and vibe first and letting everything else fall into place. Well done.

OSCAR UTTERSTROM/Departure: Swedish jazzbo recording in Nashville shows the chops that have made him a go to trombone man for so many as well as the chops that show he's got his eye on the future. A fizzie of world jazz and acid jazz, this won't get the hipster college kid any dates but it will give him a lot of cred around the coffee shop for being hipper than thou. A wild ride for instrumental music fans that live for the unfettered mash up.

BILL CANTRALL & AXIOM/Live at the Kitano: Here's a cat that hung around Chicago for almost a decade and was mentored by Jimmy Heath. What's not to like? The bone man took his time making his second album while working on making a well rounded career in the meanwhile. The wood shedding is paying off on all fronts. A solid and skillful leader, he takes his crew on a wild ride that stays within the lines while delivering a solid groove that knows the deep end of the pocket well. Tasty straight ahead jazzbo blowing that doesn't blow, if ya know wot I mean. Hot stuff.

ZAC HARMON/Music is Medicine: A contemporary take on the traditional blues as delivered from Jackson MS and west side Chicago, there's something that catches you unawares and hooks you right away. There's no need to analyze this to death when you can just enjoy that vibe and the groove and the blues that almost don't have any blues within them. The kind of blues that suburban kids would come close to the city to hear, the party's the thing here and the party is hearty. A great gateway drug for those that have been misled into thinking the blues ended when Chess closed. Check it out.

Volume 35/Number 262
July 9, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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