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CLAYTON BROTHERS/the Gathering: It's nice for them that the Claytons get to keep ownership of the copyright when going the fan funded route but really, what kind of world are we living in when the Claytons have to go schnorring to get the bucks to make a new record? Any label with a pulse should have been fighting for a chance at this, even if they let the Clayton's keep the copyright. Other than making a killer, swinging set that seems to touch on every fun jazz riff that ever got your motor running, they aren't doing anything here that doesn't fit the format, that isn't joyfully mainstream and doesn't waste a single note. This has to go the micro indie route? Yep, the record business is over. Now it's the every man for themselves music business. If you claim to enjoy contemporary jazz and don't own a copy of this, you are a fraud, sir. This is the unvarnished, unfettered sound of a group of pros playing for the joy of it and wanting to spread it around. Check it out. A stone cold killer.

DENNIS GRUENLING/Rockin' All Day: Gruenling may be a white boy but he knows how to delivers a rollicking, west side harmonica house party record in the best Little Walter tradition. He's one of those cats that drives home the message that it's fun to screw around with a harmonica but in the right hands it's a serious instrument and not a toy. Unabashedly old fashion, we aren't on the retro track here, this is just a paragon of playing ‘em like they used to but don't anymore but still should. Just add the beer, sawdust and jump blues style sloppy dancing with abandon and the mix and motif is complete. And for the cynical ones out there that know I tilt toward the classic Chess sides, Grueling has been awarded best modern blues harmonica player three years in a a row and is generally acknowledged to be easily acknowledged as one of the modern masters. T'aint hype at all, kiddies---he's the real deal.

DONNA SINGER/Kiss Me Beneath the Mistletoe: The lead singer of Swing Shift Orchestra steps out for another solo turn delivering a sprightly holiday set that feels like a welcome post card from an old friend. Easy going stuff made to look deceptively simple, Singer is smart singer that knows how to move and groove with swing and verve delivering a Christmas record that really sounds like nothing you've heard before. There seems to be a wave of different and creative Christmas records in the pipeline this year but this set is running at the head of the pack. A good bet for the holidays.

DAVID GILMORE/Numerology-Live at Jazz Standard: So, a good reason to smoke is this record was financed by a grant from some Doris Duke foundation. Gilmore has gone around the horn from Windham Hill to Joss Stone and if his guitar vision is somewhat left leaning at this time, hell, I'd like to be in the same room at the same time with Claudia Acuna, Miguel Zenon, Luis Perdomo, Chris McBride, Jeff Watts and Mino Cinelu. He's got them all in his band for this live recording! Sitting down jazz that's not for moldy figs, if you like that progressive stuff that doesn't come from the church basement, start hinting that this is what you'd like for the holidays. A wild ride, but a solid one throughout.

MASHA CAMPAGNE/Like Water, Like Air: With looks that should cause Russian mail order bride websites to up their game, for her second outing, this Moscow born songbird sounds every bit as sweet as she looks. Working a Brazil groove, she and her skilled crew have been digging the Creed Taylor/Astrid Gilberto/Wanda de Suh nexus to find that sweet spot where you get authentic Brazilian sounds with a lite touch. Certainly not the sound of today's Brazilian streets, what self respecting yuppie could resist this when after hours comes roiling around and the sun is still up for a few hours?. Tasty stuff that hits all the right notes throughout.

JASON VIVONE & the Billy Bats/Lather Rinse Repeat: I guess the rumor was true. It was the night Willie Alexander and Muddy Waters got stranded in the middle of winter on the other end of Highway 61, somewhere outside Thief River Falls, MN. There were all these 5,000 watt stations drifting in an out of earshot, some playing some Ry Cooder, some playing some Elmore James, some playing some John Lee Hooker. With the radio on, they grounded their jumper cables to a bin full of medical waste outside a medical clinic. Something happened and the medical waste coalesced into a muso they decided to manage. They nurtured the organism and fed him all ort of musical madness. And now, the result---Jimmy Vivone. The kind of act that flourishes outside the margins, Vivone is a wonderful mix of energy and madness that hangs out on the corner in front of the loony bin where blues meet rockabilly over by the musical dumpsters he regularly ravages since he always comes up from a dumpster dive with something of value. A high octane record that'll drive you absolutely nuts and convince your girl friend that it's time for her to move on, this is too much of a gasser to be believed. Check it out for the most fun you can have with your ears open. More, please.

JOHN PROULX/The Best Thing for You: One of our fave jazz piano finds of the last few years leaves himself wide open for the Dave Frishberg comparisons to come flooding in with this new release. Is that such a bad thing? Proulx is an individual voice and being compared to Frish might not be the most desired thing for a healthy ego, but it means you aren't being thought of as runny, chopped liver either. So, if your attorney Bernie tells you to sign up for this record, you sign. Not feeling anything like a rip-off or an homage, Proulx is highly skilled at being enthusiastic and high octane without crossing the line into the kind of schmaltz bubbies like. He's fun and we like that.
508 (vocal piano series)

DOUG DEMING & THE JEWEL TONES/What's It Gonna Take: A white boy from Detroit with a guitar and a taste for blues licks is what's coming on strong here. A solid, hard working muso that knows the road goes on forever, Deming and his crew know the show band moves and show up to serve a good time for all. Right in the pocket stuff that isn't out to change the world, it's one of those sets that just encourages you to shut up and listen so you don't miss a nice serving of classic feeling blues brought in to the present. Well done.

Volume 36/Number 2
November 2, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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