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TEN YEARS/various: With a decade of operation under their belt, the label stops to give itself a three cd pat on the back looking back at their myriad high spots with label new comer, Monday Michiru doffing her art chick ways and cutting right to the chase in showcasing some of the best Brazilian music and jazz the label has discovered and uncovered. Fueled by the vision of Mike Marshall, the musical side of the label has been run with the high musical standards you would expect from a pure player of Marshall's caliber. Their releases have left little room for argument and this distillation makes an open and shut case in favor of their output. Skillfully sequenced, this is a killer set of great listening for adult ears that want to be treated right. Samplers haven't been this cool since the golden age of the Warner/Reprise twofers and this one covers a whole different territory. Well done throughout.

BONNIE BISHOP/Free: She hangs out with Al Anderson and Lee Roy Parnell and gets her songs recorded by Bonnie Raitt. No need to call the Better Business Bureau for the dope on this lass. While owing an obvious debt to the white hippie blues mammas of the early 70s, Bishop personally has more in common with the second wave of white blues mammas like Fiona Boyes and Eden Brant. Bishop isn't afraid to rock it and go for the big choruses making her a white hot white blues mamma for these times. A blistering DIY release where no drop of sweat was held back, the grand children of 70s hippies now have a blues babe of their own that really knows how to tear it up. Hot stuff.

BILLIE DAVIES TRIO/All About Love: Nothing new here folks, but a lot of nice playing along the way. Cool school post bop improv, live work outs on jazz standards fill the disc and fill the time nicely. Playing together in the same room in the same take, old school style, this is a nice back in the day throw back jazz trio set with a lady drummer leading the way. Fun stuff that doesn't aim to change the world, just make it a nicer place.

JEFF COFFIN & THE MU'TET/Into the Air: Scaling back to a single disc for this go round, the Mu'Tet is back, with a new edition and some new guests that keep it interesting. Coffin, the multi faceted saxman that would have been at home in a hot house creative atmosphere like the 60s takes you on an unexpected musical voyage that doesn't take you far from his Texas roots and heritage while showing the universality of the ultimate chord. Groovy in it's own way stuff that just invites you to fire a doob and become one with the sound. It's music to inspire you filtered through musicians that inspired him. Coffin hits out out of the park in his singular way once again.

TIZER/Downbeat: Just like anything else, as groovy as 70s/80s fusion was through our misty water colored memories, a recent tour through my hard rive showed how vapid a lot of it was with just as much filler a lot of pop records served up. That's what makes revisionist history so nice. Tizer is a period fusion fan and on this disc of his own design, he picks the best, leaves the rest and serves us some seriously, righteous jamming that calls our attention back to our personal faves of the time and place. Smoking stuff with a hand picked bunch of smoking players on board, this is a tasty journey through a past that's now created out of whole cloth. A well done date of no fat fusion that sizzles throughout. Tasty!

JOHN FRIES/U.S. 50: A Northeast version of a heartland rocker, this cat steeped in blues and rock with almost 20 years of kicking it out under his belt serves up some Texas flavored blues rock power trio stuff that tastes good. Leading with blazing guitar licks, Fries loads his songs with mythos giving your head something to think about when it's not bobbing to the licks. Good stuff for the American night no matter what part of the country you're in.

STEVE LIPMAN/Ridin' the Beat: For his second outing, the singing dentist quits huffing Novocain and really gives his inner Sinatra a real run for it's money. Not a tribute album, this is just a cat letting fly on something he feels passionate about. He's not a train wreck and he's not Matt Monro but he's a real inspiration to anyone that's ever sung into a hair brush and wished they had the guts to go for it. He's certainly the bombastic, fun loving cat you want to have show up at your party.

TIA FULLER/Angelic Warrior: We always love us some saxy ladies and Fuller has the chops that take interest in her well beyond her looks. Having been a key player for both Beyonce and Esparanza Spaulding, Fuller knows how to walk that line between commerce and art and delivers an accessible date a hipster jazzbo would love, in spite of himself. Serving it up like an undisciplined Coltrane toeing the line, Fuller makes a date that's right for today but acknowledges all that was proper about yesterday. This is some solid, accomplished contemporary jazz that comes across as a first rate audio panorama keeping your ears moving, trying to keep up. Hot stuff.

Volume 35/Number 308
August 24, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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