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SUNNY CROWNOVER/Right Here Right Now: Stepping away from the roles Duke Robillard has cast her in for the last few years, Crownover steps up to the mic with a load of blue eyed soul sounding like a white girl bugging Isaac Hayes the way Teena Marie bugged Rick James. With most of the material contributed by Gary Nicholson, the male country boy turns in some authentic blues chick stuff and the whole things hangs together quite mightily. Here's a white girl that has real soul that goes deeper than just performance. Well done by a crew that can't deliver any less.

KEVIN KASTNING & MARK WINGFIELD/An Illustrated Silence: There was once a time when guitarists like John Abercrombie and John Scofield were scary to listen to. This duo takes it down a few notches, adds stringed instruments of their own design with more strings than the usual guitars, basses etc, and takes you into the twilight zone of the 10s. Like a nu minimalist ECM record would sound, that's the time and space traversal going on here. Yep, it's out there.

FRANK KIMBROUGH TRIO/Live at Kitano: One of the most important jazz piano improvisers of our time, Kimbrough is up to his usual tricks, dragging his trio into an intimate listening spot without rehearsal and telling them to do this thing. Getting ready to hit the road with Maria Schneider soon, the stuff here will give his solo turns something new for audiences to soak up. Classic sitting down jazz going on here.

J.P. REALI/The Road to Mississippi: While John Koerner was always happy to add his goofy humor to the traditional blues proceedings, Reali is a master slide guitar player and here we find him mostly solo and getting in to the dark, scary side of traditional Koerner material--the field hollers, work songs, etc. Almost a cinematic experience, this isn't an easy record but anyone into the darkness of the Piedmont blues will get the shivers listening to this. Hot genre stuff all the way.

ZOHAR'S NIGUN/Four Questions: Experimental Jewish jazz that rejects the whole klezmer pigeonhole thing but relies heavily on the Shabbis songbook for material. Yes, there's a riff on the Passover ceremony in the title and this bunch is from Australia so you can bet everything is all moshe capaaired anyway. This is how old boundaries get broken down.

YARON ISRAEL & High Standards/Visions-the Music of Stevie Wonder: This is a fine example of one of those non essential records where everyone is playing in high gear on stuff you can't help but know and is a lot of fun in a cotton candy/guilty pleasure way. Bringing the jazz out of Wonder's soul/R&B/funk, Israel and his wise crew are doing more than just hitting all the right notes. Light years away from the gift shop record this could have easily become, it's a wonderful audio desert without the whipped cream. Check it out, this is a drummer that knows how to give the rest of the band some.

JULIAN SHORE/Filaments: He may be a rising piano jazzman but we dig him for his space age pop/now sound/lounge attitude that comes across so well as he lays out tunes with a gentler hand than many pianists. Fun stuff that soars, meanders and does what it damn well pleases within sunshine pop limitations as applied to a jazzbo, it's simply fun stuff that'll have you in a good mood before you know what hit you. Check it out.

BEN BEDFORD/What We Lost: Nu traditional folkie that writes his songs from the literature tradition loaded with dark edge that certainly speaks to the times. With a killer voice that fits the format like a glove, everything here keeps you riveted if you don't have ants in your pants and can appreciate music you sit and listen to. Strong enough that it won't let you multitask as it plays in the background, you can bet Townes Van Zandt is smiling his blessing on this third outing for Bedford. Well done throughout.

Volume 35/Number 344
September 29, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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