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ULI GEISSENDOERFER/Colors: A dandy little date for those that like it when it doesn't fit the format, this cat fuses world jazz with carnival vibes that would tickle the funny bones of Pauls Winter and Horn. Having worked with everyone from Tito Puente to Ute Lemper, he's got enough proper brand names on the side of his keyboards to grab our attention right there. A wonderfully crazy musical collage, I'll bet you didn't know instrumental music mixed with para nature sounds could be loaded with so much whimsy. Certainly not for moldy figs, this is highly creative music that was made for offbeat summer days when you enjoy the party in your head more than any other.

SMOKIN' JOE KUBEK & BNOIS KING/Close to the Bone: Basically a guitar duo album with King handling the vocals and various pals dropping by here and there to lend some harmonica licks, this ‘unplugged' date by these two Texas blues guitar shredders is just made for anyone reading blogs about how music sucks these days and responding with a resounding ‘yeah!". Organic, down home and certainly coming from close to the bone, if this doesn't take you back to 70's college coffee houses, nothing will and you might as well just drown in the eddy of your underwater mortgage. Simplicity never sounded so rich and complex. Killer stuff for non granola eating acoustic guitar fans.

THE BLUES BROADS: Each of the four women here have musical careers that go back at least 40 years. You know the two white broads and you've heard the two black broads and now that they've found each other, along with finding a crack band, this sounds like something that was waiting to happen for years. With each member still easily capable of taking it all to church, this is a wonderfully engaging blues show that really drives home the point that menopause really is liberating. These broads have earned their stripes and since this is a cd-dvd combo pack, you can see just how fearlessly they approach the level. Clearly not at all thinking about going gently into that good night, Mmes. Morrison, Nelson, Strehli and Sampson have got it going on. A winner throughout.

KELLY McCARTY 3/Roux Steady: The 8 string guitarist rounds up his trio and delves in to world/post bop realms that serves up the roux for the stew. Left leaning, downtown edged contemporary jazz, this was expressly made with the hipster in mind On top of that, he knows who Fred Hampton is as well.

JERRY LEE LEWIS/Original Classic Albums 1965-69: Oh sure, other labels are giving you five "classic" albums on five discs and charging accordingly for the packaging, but here we find Raven cutting to the chase and giving you five albums on two discs and charging accordingly making that one killer value package. Then there's the music. Lewis was still rocking although still unforgiven by the mainstream. And who remembers him sounding so young, even if these sides reach back about 50 years? Even including a duet album with his child bride where they sing "Jackson", if Lewis ever could have been controlled, he would have thrown off enough energy to get us through several oil shortages. Making wonderful music when seemingly no one was paying attention, Raven scores on Universal's miss as they continue to mine wonderful Lewis performances that were shunt off to the side. "Classic" is often a word that gets thrown around too lightly, but that's not the case here. Check it out. He's what, 100 these days, and he can still rock like this---just with a voice that sounds 50 years older.

SOPHISTICATED LADIES/A True Story: So a bunch of women of a certain age get together to play jazz classics under their multi culti penumbra. Yawn? Hardly. This is the band you wish would take up residence at your fave hotel bar so you could see them all the time. While they break no new ground here, they have such killer chops they could be singing the yellow pages from a crummy suburb and you'd stick around to order another round. Loaded with the kind of joie de vivre you wish you could get injected, this is the kind of jazzbo break you've been waiting for. Killer stuff.

SYLVIA BROOKS/Restless: Utterly smoking jazz noir, Brooks takes smoky after hours jazz into realms only hinted at in movies like "Body Heat". I don't know where she's pulling this from but Brooks is one dame that understands what it is to be a femme fatale. Hitting under used classics and mixing them in with some recent vintage, equally off beat stuff, this is a mickey served by a dangerous broad with something up her sleeveless sleeve. Finding cores in songs like "Round Midnight", "I'm a Fool to Want You" and "Blues in the Night" that the writers didn't put there even in their darkest moments, this just ain't kid stuff. This is one mind blowingly, killer adult jazz vocal date that would make other vocalists call it a day if they could come half as close. Check it out.

SHINGO YUJI/Introducing: Largely a self taught guitarist except for a tutelage under John Pisano, the guitar tyro is rapidly moving into adulthood with a solid command of smooth jazz with bite. Putting his skills forth to mix art and commerce in practical ways, Yuji knows his Montgomery, but he knows his Metheny as well. Trying to picture himself as a hipster on the cd cover, he might know the right way to pose but he's certainly no poseur. A dandy treat for contemporary guitar jazz trio fans.

Volume 35/Number 294
August 10, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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