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SUPREMES/I Hear a Symphony expanded edition: The continuing series of geek sized expanded editions of classic Supremes album rolls through another entry in the canon, and while this completeness might only be aimed at geeks and northern soul fans, this series continues to be a major historical under taking as you get a prism like view at an album and it's times. With complete stereo and mono editions and mixes, the vaults were scoured for versions that were never used---and the hunt was successful. The look at the times the times on disc two includes a complete show recorded in Detroit contemporaneously and even a song from the original session that didn't meet Motown quality control (ha!). The music itself is timeless and wonderful as the group was in prime rubber meets the road fashion. For a record that's older than your parents, it sounds younger than springtime and is ripe for remastered enjoyment.

LOUIS ARMSTRONG & THE ALL STARS/Satchmo at Symphony Hall 65th Anniversary-The Complete Performances: Originally recorded and 1947 and not released until 1951, this is the stuff. None of those "Hello Dolly" imitations you did as a kid were lurking here when even the guy credited with being one of the inventors of jazz found he had a shelf date and had to do what he had to do. With a crew of names hat are only known to moldy figs today, once upon a time, before radio consultants and marketing jackals redefined the shape of jazz, these guys were pouring it on with passion and fervor that comes through today. The first time all the tapes form this concert have been assembled, reassembled, remastered and presented as a whole, this is one of those landmark records that needed to escape from the vaults, especially before public domain releasing companies got their hands on what was extant and watered it down while patting themselves on the back for restoring the lost. Two cds ain't enough to hold all this wonderful jazz, but that's all there is. AS a special bonus to snotty kids, there's even better stuff here to imitate than "Hello Dolly" Get cracking.

GRP 30-The Digital Master Company 30th Anniversary/various: Jesus Christ, ,kids, settle down, this is a souvenir, not a definitive statement. If you're pissed that there's no Diana Krall, no Special EFX and no who ever else you wanted, there's always room for a volume 2 in this world. The only jazz label this side of CTI to be as hated as much as it is loved for trying to expand the audience for jazz and bringing it to the lifestyle table, GRP started out with good attitudes and humble beginnings in Dave Grusin's one bedroom apartment, got kick started by outside investors that looked ahead at the end game that would come form successfully taking the digital recording high ground (when such a thing was still a novelty) and making good music for the masses. A nice collection of jazz household names and those that would become so from this launch pad, this 30 track cross section is compiled in such a way that the original lifestyle agenda is fully realized. Celebrating the 30th anni of a label that's basically been a ghost for the last 15 years, the music holds up as well as the soundtracks label founder Dave Grusin was doing 40 years ago. So there. And it's ok to admit you like CTI as well.

FRANK ZAPPA/Joe's Garage Acts I, II, III: What a way to end the 70s. Zappa had a few tour de force multi disc albums where he really let the fur fly and satisfied anyone who missed his classic dada/comedy albums. While dada in general seemed to passed with the 60s generation graduating college, Zappa saw what was coming and came down hard on the foes of creativity here, only five years before he locked horns with the PMRC. A classic for malcontents of all ages, the comedy, the commentary, the music--it's all right on point. Timeless, like a real classic should be, this is essential Zappa that can be a focal point for anyone that hopped on at any point. Killer stuff.

FRANK ZAPPA/Them or Us: Another 80s Zappa stew of comedy and licks that satisfies. Even if they can't all be great, when it's pretty god damned good, you can be sure that it's well more than pretty good. Some people feel this album is a breather, and they might be right, and there's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't have to be the first Zappa album you pick up but it certainly is a mistake not to have it around.

FRANK ZAPPA/Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch: No matter which Zappa you know, everybody knows "Valley Girl", the song that unleashed Moon Zappa and her pals lingo on an unsuspecting world that has been gagging on spoons ever since. A nice, solid Zappa entry that just happened to send him into the top 40 with hell not even having to freeze over.

FRANK ZAPPA/One Size Fits All: Proof that Zappa existed in his own time zone in that this edition of the Mothers had George Duke and Johnny Watson onboard. Some people call it Zappa's jazz/rock period but really, it just sounds like Zappa fusing jazz, rock and blues together into his own gumbo served from a soul patch on Mars (that might have been recently discovered by the Rover up there recently). While not going for the charts, this mid 70s release is believed to be his apogee work of the time, and while in the end that's only opinion, the opinion doesn't fall that far from the truth. Works like this bolster the retro look that Zappa really was a renaissance man and only the pigeon hold nature of the pop music machine served to work against that. And that's why there are so many true believers. Certainly a set for your collection.

Volume 35/Number 351
October 16, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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