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WAHID/Road Poem: There's a big game on tonight and your girl friend is bugging you to go to her fave Mediterranean restaurant because those guys that play on the weekend are playing tonight. What to you do hotshot? If you have this record, all you have to do is stop at Trader Joe's for some grape leaves and other stuff and you'll catch the last 3/4s of the game easy. Once again, showing just how full a sound you can get from oud and percussion when placed in the right hands, this date shows well just how complex simplicity can be. A glorious place to stop when it's time to let your ears out of the fast lane and into a really cool ethnic detour that really gets to you. Check it out.

EXIT PROJECT/Live Splashes: Remember when the wall fell and Russian rock band members all had bad haircuts and were doing something akin to rock in an earnest fashion? Well, with 20 years of water under the bridge, a Russian art rock scene pops up and draws on all the international down tempo touchstones as well as an Art of Noise meets AEC vibe. Suppose Ibeza was closer to Siberia and... This crew is an amalgam of hot players from other crews and the super jam yields a soundtrack for art chicks everywhere. Pirogeecore anyone?

RJ & the Assignment/Deceiving Eyes: A Chicago cat that moved to Vegas, it seems like this guy can play any music that swings and has a groove no matter what stripe it springs from. Opening up with a lively modernization on "Dolphin Dance" and moving smartly from there, it's no wonder that RJ grabs notice and accolades no matter how he plays it. Sticking mostly to being a solid jazzbo here, jazzbo ears will not be disappointed with this sprightly, swinging date that might look familiar on paper but is loaded with surprises in the grooves. A winner throughout.

JIMMY MULIDORE/Jazz for the Ages: Sax man that likes to stray but not too far does a little envelope pushing on a set of familiar tunes with occasional guestings from first call pals. Listen for the music and not the mastering as the playing is right on but the sonics could use some spiffing up.

ORIENTAL NOIR/various: This set will rip open what you think of as Oriental music as it's loaded with cross pollination fusions and modern production techniques. Long the staple of opium den scenes in crime movies, the practitioners here take it up to the next level of the game (and keep it still appropriate for opium den scenes in modern crime movies) keeping the mystery and tension in tact, 180 degrees away from the florid tea house sounds this mode can produce as well. A lively world beat excursion into modern times, this is for the next generation of arm chair travelers to revel in to get the nu genre kick started. Check it out.

EZRA WEISS/Our Path to This Moment: Piano man Weiss comes at you from a new angle this time around, a set of his charts as played by a big band up to the task. Wearing his atavistic genes proudly, this set could have flown under the penumbra of the stuff Stan Kenton was doing a few generations back and turned heads just the same. With a touch that hinges on light classical, Weiss and his charges have a wonderful pure music date for the serious listener that just wants to fall back into a pillow/cloud of great sounds that dismisses the travails of the real world for an hour. Quality stuff that sets a benchmark for contemporary sitting down jazz.

PATTERSON BARRETT/When I Was Your Age: Here's a cat that has been around Austin so long that's he's played with everyone (those are his licks on Jerry Jeff's "LA Freeway") over the last two generations and now has brought his kid into the family business. With pals like Gurf Morlix and Bonnie Bramlett dropping by on this date, you get a rocked up down home session that's crying out for 70s college coffeehouses to come back. The kind of under the radar adult pop that adults are always crabbing doesn't come around much any more, it's spirited but mature, loaded with solid songwriting that really caries the day.

ART PEPPER/Unreleased Art Pepper Vol VII-Sankei Hall Osaka Japan: Another twofer stocked to the gills with Pepper in fine form in late 1980. Recorded in Japan before an audience that was digging the swinging, upbeat groove, Pepper was reunited with Geroge Cables and was celebrating the release of his autobiography. Highly energized by the times and the crowd, along this this having the only known live recording of the then recently released "Winter Moon", sax fans and the ears attached to them are in for a real treat. The acoustics might have been better set for listening than a live recording on the fly, but none of that diminishes the power of the playing. Clearly a slice of prime Pepper throughout.

Volume 35/Number 295
August 11, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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