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ANAT COHEN/Claroscuro: The smoking clarinet/sax players takes her act to different corners of the world that aren't as faraway as they used to be and delivers a tour de force that soaks her past high water marks. The kind of cat we love because she endeavors to get better and more diverse with each new date, this is pure jazzbo music for listeners that want it real with love of creativity placed before love of money. (Hell, if you do what you love, the money will follow, right?) Without a false note in the bunch, Cohen assures her place at the top and delights throughout. Hot stuff.

JIM GAFFIGAN/Mr. Universe: The latest comic to follow Louis CK's DIY model, this cd is the roll off of the Internet special. Having well established himself as the clean comic, he does a great job of once again getting the laughs for turning a fun house mirror on the everyday mundane that you often think about but never voice. With a keen eye for taking it all in and delivering it back with a bitch slapping switch back that just floors you, Gaffigan does a fine job of making "mainstream" nothing to shy away from as he somehow manages to bring the edgy. Here's a bunch of aughs you can even enjoy with your parents. Well done.

DONNY McCASLIN/Casting for Gravity: The more McCaslin goes outside the box for him, the closer he comes to hitting the target for the masses. Unarguably a killer sax player, here we find him unleashing more electronics, more funk and more, uh, endorphins, as he turns it up to turn it out. Solid contemporary jazz that holds nothing back and takes no prisoners. This is great music for capturing the pulse of upscale, urban adventures. Queue up jazzbos with forward leaning ears.

UPTOWN VOCAL JAZZ QUARTET/Hustlin' for a Gig: This is a bunch of vocalese hipsters that don't really do anything that hasn't been done by everyone from Lambert, Hendricks & Ross to Manhattan Transfer to Jackie & Roy, but they bring a big jug of their own special sauce and that's what separates them from the rest of the pack. Displaying everything it takes to be a headliner, this crew could get under the skin of the hardest hearted investment banker and get them bopping along like they (the bankers, that is) knew what actual feelings were. Pretenders make this sound corny or precious, real pros like this bring back and era and a vibe. Even if you think this isn't your cup of tea, give it a try on your next coffee break (if y'know what I mean). Hot stuff.

KONQISTADOR/Suada: Multi culti global noize music for the nu generation that doesn't know a world without fusing everything into a sonic gumbo where the flavors can be adjusted as needed. For ravers that want to cop a hipper than thou attitude rather than go with the flow, this duo brings the noize and the electronics for a global village that looks through the wrong end of the telescope. Art chick tribal core music isn't just for art chicks anymore.

STEVE WILLIAMS & Jazz Nation with Eddie Daniels: We don't even want to argue here. Williams has paid dues of a different sort having come from the Texas Lab Band and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He's done something quite admirable here---he's distilled to works of the masters into an original set of his own songs that define modern daddio jazz with such style and authenticity that you can't put it down. Sounding very much like an unheralded roll off date from Miles' early 60s period where the Miles cats assemble without him and let their own groove fly, you simply know a killer when you hear one. You don't even have to be a daddio jazz aficionado to wig out when light touches byte. Killer stuff throughout that's so hot even the esteemable Eddie Daniels can't be more than frosting on this cake. Check it out.

BILL ANSCHELL-BRENT JENSEN-CHRIS SYMER/Blueprints: Get those atavistic genes out of the back of the closet and wear them proudly for this spiritual journey through the past when cats like Jimmy Guiffre would make dates under their own name that would sound nothing like their work for others but would take creativity to some place else. The original sax/piano duo adds a bassman to bring the color and the result is a grand uber hipster set of daddio jazz that should have included a download card that would deliver a bunch of slinky chicks in black clothes that like to stay up all night (especially if you give them a little help with the rent, sugar ). So low key you might miss just how smoking it is the first few times around. Well done.

MICHAEL FEINBERG/The Elvin Jones Project: So here we have a smart, young bass player taken with the work of Elvin Jones. Digging farther into Jones' canon, through his own lenses, he notices a simpatico Jones had with various bass players. Being a plucky cat, he enlists Billy Hart, a contemporary and compadre of Jones, to fill the drummers' chair. The party starts there. The vibe is heavy on Jones' Coltrane period but none of what's going on here sounds like it's being played by manquees with typewriters (was that too hip for the room?). This is one 25 year old admirably in touch with his inner daddio. Check it out.

Volume 35/Number 296
August 12, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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