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RICARDO SILVEIRA/Storyteller: At first I was thinking this was a delightfully retro, smooth jazz guitar date with a load of the classic smooth jazz back up guys until I realized this was a remastered reissue of a 1995 date. With a legend that's been well burnished since then, it's more than time for this date to come out of the vaults for a fresh airing. Still tasty after all these years, this is some primo adult listening that goes down mighty well coming on like a first class audio dessert you could make a whole meal out of. Well done.

WEBER IAGO/Adventure Music Piano Masters Series V. 3: Solo piano in the hands of a master is such a wonderful thing. The Brazilian piano jazzbo makes his third release for the label with this third entry in this piano series. With just him, the keys and no overdubs, this is one of the sounds of passion in it's purest state. Playing like he's thinking at least 20 notes ahead, this is some high octane stuff that pulls out incredible mpg. Feeling like a full band by himself, solo piano fans will be sure to tell all their friends once they get bitten by this. Hot stuff throughout.

TOOTS THIELEMANS/90 Yrs.: As cool as an achievement as turning 90 years old is, a lot of geezers do it every day--but not any of then are Thielemans other than Thielemans and that's why he deserves as cool a package as the current state of the economy and the music business will allow. Leave it to foreigners to show us how it's done, this is a crispy recorded new live date with Thielemans' Euro quartet. It also comes with a dvd and a mini hard cover book encasing. Although recorded over several years, nitpickers will be slapped senseless, that doesn't take away any coolness points from the endeavor or the tribute. This is a great portrait of a master at work long after his shelf date should have passed showing you just how it should be done. No gimmicks needed. Great stuff and a high water mark for instrumental music.

FOUR FRESHMEN/Love Songs: C'mon, even if some of the original members are gone, this crew is too venerated to be taken lightly. They also deserve better than clichés like "I hope they never graduate". Timeless stuff that was once mainstream but now defies category and can be easily welcomed into the digital world's gaping maw, this harmony crew sticks to the meat and potatoes here, but this collection of love songs is pure filet and the potatoes are garlic mashed. You don't need any tricks when you stick to what you do best and do it better than anybody else. A must have album for those rare moments when you know you need to feel and act sophisticated. Check it out.

ANA GAZZOLA/Musicas e Palavras dos Bee Gees: And now for something completely different. A Brazilian vocalist takes the works of the Bee Gees for a ride in a live in the studio recording that is in Portuguese but is done with an over all romantic feel rather than a Brazilian feel. A lot to swallow all at once? Swallow this. If you never liked the Bee Gees simply because they were too popular, you won't even know you are listening to a work officially sanctioned by them. Produced by Carla Olsen, who is better known as a gringo rather than a Latin jazz fan, everyone is hitting on all eight here. A delightfully different trip through "familiar" territory that will never be confused with a gift shop record that tries to cover the same ground. Hot stuff.

DENA DEROSE/Travelin' Light: Amazing what a change of scene and no backing players can do to the body chemistry. Working solo in Belgium, when DeRose kicks it off with letting you know in no uncertain terms that ‘we're gonna fall in love' (from opening track "Nice & Easy"---which she bites off with a tang that would make Tina Turner proud)---you believe! And don't feel like arguing. Playing at the top of her game with no net under her other than she's been singing these songs for over 20 years, hands down, this might be the top contender for jazz vocal album of the year. Put this on, expect to be blown away. The live audience couldn't always keep up with her as she kept leaving them breathless. Whew!

ROGER DAVIDSON TRIO/We Remember Helen: Bill Evans' manager/producer, Helen Keane is remembered here by the classical piano player she turned her attention to after Evans died. She found his inner jazzbo and turned him into one of that cats you owe it to yourself to hear. Putting together a program of her fave tunes, along with originals written with her in mind, the trio is smoking here. A classic jazz piano trio date that has the soul, spirit and fury of all the classic albums by the classic crews, Davidson makes one for the ages here with a date that will never go stale. Modern sophistication of the highest order, this is way more than martini music and a must have for the serious, mainstream jazzbo that wants it done right. Hot stuff.

MARIA MULDAUR/...First Came Memphis Minnie: 40 albums on, Muldaur takes it back when we first met her as a solo act, singing Memphis Minnie songs in Woodstock. The voice might have deepened and many of the players might have moved on but Roly Salley shows up to lend hand and he was killing the blues back then back there. A blues version of a guitar pull, Muldaur is taking it back to the blues she heard ringing in the Village as a mischievous kid; it's all from the heart here. With a great guest list (including a few that aren't with us any more), Bonnie Raitt and Rory Block are on board so you know this is a cooking, authentic date throughout. Please make Muldaur a judge on one of these talent shows. Someone has to show these car alarm sounding wannabes how it's done with subtly and emotion (and talent).
This is the kind of date that can get novices and lapsed ears to fall in love with traditional blues. Well done throughout.

Volume 35/Number 336
September 21, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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