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BRAD HAMMONDS GROUP/Greene Street: A sure handed drummer that knows how to give everyone else some, Hammonds and pals expand the musical vocabulary of gypsy jazz/nu flamenco in a sweeping style with chops to spare. Sprinkled with rock energy, roots vibes and a good time energy, this is nu organic instrumental music that hits a lot of bases as it goes along it's way and covers them just fine. Possibly not for moldy figs that haven't entered the new, multi culti world where almost everything is a mash up, even they might be smitten by this music's charms and face the future head on. Tasty, wonderful stuff that only sour pusses won't like.

KEVIN COELHO/Funkengruven-the Joy of Driving a B3: No fair! This 16 year old knows how to drive a B3, old school, with a touch that's wise well beyond his years. Fronting a smoking trio where it's impossible to tell who's keeping who in line, Coelho is clearly your new B3 buddy. Produced by the label head himself, also no slouch of a B3 player, whatever Jimmy Smith hath started you can bet no man shall put asunder. Killer stuff that'll flat out blow the wax out of your ears.

RICHARD SUSSMAN QUINTET/Continuum: Proving you can go home again a few years ago when reassembling his 1978 crew for another go at what was, with slight tweaks, Sussman tills that same ground again, once again with highly pleasing results. Assembling a bunch of aging jazzbo that play like they forget time passes, this is another dose of a timeless sound that's right in the pocket and hits all the high notes for the contemporary jazz fan. A tasty workout throughout, this is mighty hard to resist.

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG/2012 New York Cast Recording: Originally enough of a flop that Sondheim was ready to just turn Broadway over to Andy Webber, the show has been reborn 30 years later as a grand, glorious work that makes you think you hear everything that's right about Broadway in these grooves. Reviled even with some show stopper numbers that could survive a nuclear blast, here's the proof that time and tide have to line up with the stars for things to work out the way they should. Yes, the newest grand addition to the Broadway canon is a revamped 30 year old flop that the true believers never gave up on. Rightfully so. Another sure fire winner for the musical theater fan from PS Classics and their can't miss team.

JURGEN FRIEDRICH/Monosuite: Quite a change of pace for a label known mostly for solo piano and small groups, this set let's a progressive composer/improviser really let fly as he takes a string orchestra to task for a wonderful and wily impressionistic ride that ventures into contemporary classical music realms and journeys with it's head held high. Tailor made for the adult listener looking for something engaging he can't quite put his finger on but will return to often, this is quite the grand work for the musically adventurous. Well done.

SHEMEKIA COPELAND/33 1/3: Crowned queen of the blues as last year's Chicago blues fest, she's not the kind of queen that advises the poor to eat cake a she steps up in the opening track taking up their plight in a rocking, contemporary fashion that tips it's hat to the classic blues form but tailors it to today's ears. Copeland has the engines revved up on high and delivers the goods like a modern monarch should. A winner from any angle, this is a top shelf, modern blues set that will disappoint no one. Well done.

OJOS DE BRUJO/Reworked: A multi culti dj took up the task of freshening up the decade old oeuvre of Ojos De Brujo as the face of the streets has changed over the last decade, but the new kids on the block shouldn't be denied the old school vibe. Bet you never saw so many 20 somethings start to feel so old when the new vibes are applied. No sacrilege as it wasn't sacrosanct in the first place, the sinister patina is a cool addition and fits right in with the times. Old and new come together nicely for the young urbanite without a six figure job.

WHISPERING PINES: With a 70's pre-arena rock sound that falls somewhere between Macon and LA but doesn't needfully fall in Texas, this crew puts on a snug pair of atavistic genes and let's the party roll from a time when you could hear a big sound in clubs and halls and FM ruled the roost. If you want a taste of what your parents were choogling to all night in college, this is the stop to make to promote some bonding.

Volume 35/Number 264
July 11, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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