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DUDUKA DA FONSECA/Samba Jazz Jazz Samba: When you've been a go to guy all the insiders know for the last 40 years, it time to get the word out to the rest of the world that they've been digging you for a few generations. Da Fonseca has been recording prolifically under his own name the last few years and this set finds him fronting the trio he started a decade ago. Not content to let samba lie prettily in it's groove, his brand of special sauce is applied liberally but never too heavily. A tasty set who's prime directive is to sound good at all times, this is a welcome session that boldly engages your ears to be it's dance partner. A good time is had by all.

LUA HADAR with Twist/Like a Bridge: The multi culti jazz vocalist took her time getting her latest one together with the craft and care showing as she and the band nail it live in the studio with nary a clam in earshot. Sophisticated almost to the point of being nu cabaret, today's young adult easing into the newly grabbed yupscale job will find this goes well with martini's in hotel top bars. Another fine example of adult chill. And let's face it, who ever outgrows hearing another, new well done version of "Sukiyaki"?

MARCUS MILLER/Renaissance: No one could ever accuse Miller of having any dust on him, but as he notes, people his age are entering a time of sea change. With over 30 years as a pro under his belt, he's now one of the new elder statesmen and wants to push some new boundaries. With a crew of hungry, young cats clawing to make their own marks bringing up the rear, this is a killer collection of nu soul/funk that looks forward and backward at the same time finding that sweet spot where the only thing that matters is killer playing/writing and interpreting. A trend setting date that moldy figs might think veers into yuppie funk a touch to often, it's right for the times and the times that are moving on. Time may have turned the riot into a party and this set shows there's a party going on. Hot stuff

ANNA ESTRADA/Volando: A nu kind of jazz diva in which she mixes jazz, Latin and cabaret into a sonic brew that is a fast ball right down the middle for adult ears. More concerned with the pocket and the groove than trying to claw to the top of the charts for something instant and forgettable, Estrada has fun playing hooky from her day job and wants you to join in. With some familiar tracks done in unfamiliar ways, as well as some standards being done in standard ways under her belt, it's hard to find a better collection of cocktail/adult chill music that will satisfy so well. Check it out, it's on the money.

GRANT GEISSMAN/Bop! Bang! Boom!: Let's make one thing perfectly clear. It's well time to mention Geissman in the same breathe as Les Paul, John Williams, Chet Atkins, Charlie Christian, Christopher Parkening, Sharon Isbin and the rest of that ilk. He's not only that good, but he can do everything they do and do it with a puckish sense of humor that let's you know he still doesn't see his "job" as work even after all these years as a pro. With the value added packaging of Miles Thompson's PG-13 artwork take on Coop, gewgaws slipped into the gatefold and all your fave pop and jazzbo as guests, you'd be a fool to buy this as a download or to think you need to hear it before buying. Playing stuff he likes to play, even though this is a cohesive record, if you play it in the car, you'll be convinced you're listening to a cool adult instrumental satellite channel. Whether he takes you to 52nd Street, a rockabilly hop in Texas, the tropics or wherever, this record is so right on you just won't believe it. One of the rare ones who can be at the pinnacle and still get better as time goes on (as you can also say for the guest players), this may be the proverbial adult album you buy if you only buy one album this year. Killer stuff throughout---and that's just where it begins.

KAT PARRA/Las Aventuras de Pasion: Crowd funded albums might not have the muscle behind them to top the charts (at least just yet), but they give the clear visioned artist the unbridled latitude to do the right thing. As it gets harder and harder to stand out in any way, a set like this from the vet Latin jazz vocalist is a real tonic. Crafting a mash up fusion pulling songs and sounds from places that give her the greatest comfort zones to really stretch and amaze, adults that miss the days when albums were cheap enough to invite you to paw through the racks and buy things unheard that seemed interesting will be hooked from the first few bars of the revamped "Iko Iko". And so it goes from there. Charming, engaging, warm and wily, if you didn't get the jazz diva thing on it's initial orbit, this one will be sure to pull you into it's gravity for a fine ride. Well done.

ODD TRIO/Birth of the Minotaur: Reversing the usual trajectory of jazz into classical, these classicalbos move into mash up jazz, doing so from one of the strong holds of indie rock, Athens, GA. Pomo jazz for any kid that grew up on rap/rock and is ready to move onto more adult musical pursuits, there's jazz, there's mythology, chops to spare and a good time for all. This music is challenging without being work to listen to and well worth your dalliance.

PAUL BEAUDRY & Pathways/Americas: A jazzy celebration of the western hemisphere by a pack of state department musical ambassadors, this is loaded with the kind of jazzbo meets tourist tunes that would be right at home in a movie like "Romancing the Stone" . Populist and bouncily accessible, you don't have to waste time wondering if this is fish or fowl when it's a simply a flat out good time. Staffed by sure handed hipsters out to enjoy what a good time really can be, the party rolls on and a good time is had by all. Check it out.

Volume 35/Number 266
July 13, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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