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NEIL C. YOUNG TRIO/El Camino: Here's a jazz guitarist with rock sensibilities that's been wowing them in England for years and is now out to stake his claim here. Jazzy jam band inspired tunes, clean picking, a nice sense of harmony---it's everything you could want in an introduction to a ‘new' artist that has something to prove to you. Tasty stuff that touches on all the elements you want in a contemporary jazz guitar record, Young might not make anyone forget the other Neil Young, but he'll sure make it clear which one is which. Well done.

TAS CRU/Tired of Bluesmen Cryin': In which we find the little children shall lead them Cru was talking to a 16 year old blues fan who told him she like all kinds of blues but was tired of hearing blues men crying, bitching about something gone wrong they probably screwed up in the first place. It gave Cru an a-ha moment and he changed course to serve up a positive, upbeat blues set because singing the blues does make you feel good in a lot of cases, so why not feel good? Is a meeting at the cross roads of 49, 61 and Carefree Highway such a bad thing? Not in Cru's hands. His organic, back porch version of the blues is still in full force and the change in direction doesn't hurt him a whit. As a special note to purists, there's still crying here--but it's aimed at doing something about the high rate of suicide among the armed forces. A solid set throughout.

CAROLINE DAVIS QUINTET/Live Work & Play: Sitting in with Von Freeman impressed his band so much that several of them decamped to join Davis' circus. Specializing in the kind of odd time signature sax honking that won't ever let you get rich but will keep you working forever, Davis and her merry band make Chicago sound an awful lot like New York as they recreate the basement club in the back of your mind and move it front and center to your headphones. With hard core blowing leading the charge, this jazz student has moved to the front of the class and is primed to be one of those pros you refer to in hushed tones. Hot stuff for the open eared and left leaning.

OUT TO LUNCH/No One Left Behind: And so we find ourselves with a new New York jazz crew accented heavily by world/funk and contemporary street touches. Jazz for a nu jazz generation that want to bring jazz back to being party music, but in a way they can dig it, moldy figs had best beware when the kids get a hold of this. Heady, timely jamming that easily keeps the party going well past the time the neighbors wish it would break up. Fun stuff.

NANCY OSBORNE/Songs in the Key Of Love: In which Don Peake answers the question of whether the Wrecking Crew still has it 40 years later. Well, working with one of the top LA all weather vocalists, he takes Cole Porter to Brazil, Chet Baker to the hop and pretty much moves a bunch of classics all over the board to all quadrants except shoe gaze and angst. A tasty mature record that freshens up a bunch of faves, this record doesn't try to be anything but what it is, a top notch, first call jazzy vocal date. Osborne is right in the heart of her métier, and she rides it like a meteor. This set requires nothing of you other than to kick back and enjoy this audio love letter to your ears and cortex. First class all the way.

FELIPE SALLES/Departure: The list of progressive and left leaning jazzbos this cat has blown his sax with is endless. Here we find him merging downtown with Brazil with the angular kind of stuff Alfred Lion recorded but felt unsure about releasing in real time. A smoking, sure footed date with one foot in the future and one foot in the past, Salles, leading a crack and stellar crew, makes first class sitting down jazz for those Sunday evenings when you'd rather set the DVR for animation domination and groove with something only slightly mellow to put your head in the right place. Tasty stuff that isn't chill but was made for chilling. Well done.

TAARKA/Adventures in Vagabondia: This is the kind of alt.Americana I've been waiting on for years so it makes me happy/sad that after a decade together and six albums, I'm finally getting my first taste of them. They are so eclectic that even though there's a consistency to their work, you almost feel like you are listening to a bunch of different acts. As equally inspired by Darol Anger as they are Jay Unger, this bunch can have hokum and folk music from Mars resting comfortably next to each other inside of the same song. A pair of super pickers in the traditional of what Anger, Marshall and the rest were doing 30 years ago at Rounder (which no one knew what to do with then), this acoustic, kitchen sink fusion will blow your mind. A totally killer date by a duo that started out as gypsy jazz buskers in New York, they are masters of the organic stuff you hear at local arts festivals that always leaves you feeling that the band was at least well intentioned. Yep, there are people that can play that stuff and play it with the right touch. Now, if you need to pack some killer tunes for that next hoedown on Jupiter, be sure to pack this. A real game changer.

LIVE WIRE/Livin': Rita Ballou made those trophy buckles shine, shine, shine two generations ago. Now her granddaughter is wearing a tied off Zep t-shirt and sassy grin and taking breath away. This country rocking crew in a sort of Marshall Tucker tradition is from a different part of the south than that which gave us hall mark southern rock years ago serving up more of a heartland edge with lyrics and thunder that will resonate with the (barely) working man today. Proudly blue collar and not showing concern for sippy cups and Wal-Mart country, this is an approximation of how Hank Williams Jr would sound if he was starting out today and not rich. Some aim low and hit the target, this bunch is exactly the opposite. They get the blood surging in a wholly organic way but the rush is undeniable. Hot stuff.

Volume 35/Number 362
October 27, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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