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MAC GOLLEHON/La Fama: Another one of those guys that's qualifies as the heaviest cat you never heard of takes a look at his back pages, stretching back to 1980, for a look at his Latin side. Always one to being his trumpet to the coolest places, here we find him doing his thing with the crème of the New York Latin jazz players of the era. Doing work so forward thinking, this sounds like a cohesive album that was recently recorded--and it's anything but. Tasty Latin jazz with just the right amount of caliente for gringos, this is real music for people united against the proliferation of mere product. You can bet any gringo that's watched "Godfather II" too many times will use this to transport him to the Havana after hours joint in his mind. A winner throughout.

BROKENCYDE/Best of BC13: These hard core, angry crunksters might view Beastie Boys as an oldies act they drew inspiration from, but they are so bad ass, you know this bunch will never be hanging out at the Playboy mansion with bunnies no matter how successful they get. This bunch doesn't have time for the head games; whores, strippers and sluts provide more than enough drama for their tastes. Utterly bad ass shit that better scare the crap out of suburban parents if they hear this coming up from the basement, this best of pack includes the greatest hits in audio and accompanying video on the bonus DVD. We're here entertain us, indeed, it's 20 years later and this is what has been wrought.

D. GOOKIN/Prey on the Prize: Ok, we've been taken with this cat because he strikes us as Michael Hurley on electronics. Not that we're comparing this to old folk music, jus the vibe behind the inspiration of the two acts. Malcontent music with a grin and a smirk, this is wonderfully crazy stuff that used to be the heart and soul of really college music, not the co-opted stuff from codified sources.

2002/Believe: 2002 has done something really interesting here. They've drilled down into the works of mainstream new age acts that made you go ‘bleh' and pulled out the cinematic elements from a wide variety of ‘mainstream' new age acts and fused them into something familiar and new at the same time, none of it leaving you to say ‘bleh'. A well thought out release that feels like it had meticulous planning but left room for inspiration and playfulness, this sets the stage for new age to take off to new places in fine fashion. Orchestral rather than minimal, grand rather than precious, this sounds like what you would have gotten if Chip Davis and Enya had a kid that stayed new age but wanted to rebel. Long time new age buffs can't help but welcome this contemporary instrumental treat to the canon. Well done throughout.

WAVE MECHANICS UNION/Further to Fly: Two jazzbo arrangers with a love for 70s dinosaur/prog rock wonder what would happen if they gave big band voice to their old faves. The result was so offbeat, because you wouldn't expect an endeavor like this to be down the middle, that it attracted Jon Anderson to hang out for a few songs. These kind of mash ups simply work or don't but this one is a do, especially if you have gleefully left of center tastes that revel in not acknowledging limitations or boundaries. This works well because you almost don't recognize the originals once this crew gets done with them and all baggage is left at the door. A great example of non-hipster, college kid jazz, this should remind the student that big band doesn't have to mean half time marching band. Fun stuff that works well.

PAMELA YORK/Lay Down this World: Since her debut over a decade ago when she was joined by Clayton-Hamilton, you knew York was a jazz piano player you wanted to hear more from. Here she really makes her mark as a pro, leading her trio through a program of hymns and spirituals that are so far removed from their original sound that you might not realize you are listening to religious oriented music unless you are a real Charlie Church. While jazzing up spirituals is nothing new, what's new here is the vision and deft touch. A highly decorated player well deserving of wider exposure, if PBS had any balls they would come calling to make York a home grown star rather than relying on the sure things. There's no doubt she would come through at her end of the deal. Well done.

CHRISTMAS THE MOUNTAIN WAY/various: Nothing against the mainstream Christmas records by mainstream country acts, but this organic, original, Christmas set really kicks ass. A multi platform release, the cd is a roll off from a special for cable TV, which is also included in this package. Reaching out beyond the label roster to round out the talent line up, whether doing the holiday standards or some original material that blends nicely, this Appalachian throw back to simpler times (in feel) when the heartland was into moonshine instead of meth labs out behind the barn invokes the kind of Americana we feel in the back of our minds. A real stand out of a holiday set, whether bluegrass/back porch fan or not, this is a must hear holiday set for everyone that's not too hip for the room. Well done.

SILVANA KANE/La Jardinera: Here's an interesting curve ball for you. The global pop singer from Canada by way of Peru turns in a lovely album of her fave Latin American songs originally done by other singers. Would you know the difference since it's not in English? Serving up an expressive performance that must really be from the heart, this is one of those sets that really touches you and draws you in. Cinemascopic, but in an art house theater way, it has almost a Leonard Cohen quality to it and can either be comforting background music or solid foreground music when you want to give it your complete attention. This is one of those rare birds that has a way of speaking to you even when you don't know what the singer is talking about. Certainly a special treat.

Volume 36/Number 10
November 10, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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