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PERE UBU/Lady from Shanghai: If Can can be in the midst of a revival, so can Ubu----and Thomas and his pals haven't been away as long so the sounds are more relevant. A bunch of forward thinkers that wound up being ahead of their time, this never was music for the masses but somehow it went on to influence those who did reach the masses. Quintessential stuff for those that prize being too hip for the room and rubbing everyone's nose in it a few years later.

SCOTT HEALY ENSEMBLE/Hudson City Suite: So, here's a jazz piano man that you probably never heard of but he's been there, done that and designed the t-shirt for his website at Café Press. Whether playing with Tony Bennett or holding a chair in the Basic Cable Band, this writer for Keyboard Magazine (really,---what doesn't he do and where does he get the time?) turns in the kind of 50s/60s feeling date where the playing and the vibes flowed freely as the jazzbos on board were playing for the joy and fun of it, hoping they would get rich but knowing they wouldn't. There's nothing more you can say about this session other than it's a four star showcase of killer playing unfurling a load of beautiful music. Not just for mature ears but any muso looking for something they can really sink their teeth into, this can either be a great listening experience or and ear opening education---or anything in between. To top it all off, he's not shy about sharing the spotlight with a bunch of the next generation who are busy making names for themselves right now. It's a special joy when a real pro can make it look/sound easy and not rub your nose in it along the way. Killer, classic sounding jazz that would make the masters proud.

LISA MATASSA/Somebody's Baby: You've heard of post bop? This is post Garth country. She's a rocked up country chick who's roots have been well pruned and transplanted in just the right amount of rock. Pre-sippy-cup-crap, this is a kissing cousin of post hair band rock mixed with cosmic country where the songs have just the right temperance to have been at home on a stage opening for Garth. Suburban contemporary country? It ain't right for Sturgis and it ain't right for this New York girl to take back to the nabes. It's got the right energy and shows the right heart. Yep, this would blow the roof off suburban, strip mall honky tonks. Tempis fugit but this is a nice zeitgeist.

KARL 2000
KARL 2000: Um, if Albert Ayler played Russian folk music it would sound like this sax led free jazz trio? Why not? Um, Ayler wasn't for everybody so.... We do like their pissed off commie monkey logo.

CHAISE LOUNGE/A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas: Nothing beats a non gloomy Christmas down at the bar. Lounging it up on originals and classics together, this is not strict 90s lounge revival sounds as the crew goes deeper into genre blending on their newest platter. Easy rolling stuff that has lounge, pop, rockabilly, honky tonk and smatterings of other left of center sounds that show us what space age pop is like in the 10s. As much as we loved them last time out, we love them even more now as this is a quasi-retro juggernaut of cool in top form. It's so groovy you can play it year round. The hype sheet calls it an instant classic and they aren't kidding. Check it out.

SAFFRON/Dawning: No matter how you slice it, it's girl friend music. The poetry of Rumi gets a new world/jazz backing from a crew that seemed to fall together from across the globe with nothing much in common but reliable chops that have been given many chances to shine. With extra points given for the lead vocalist bringing indigenous cred to the proceedings, if tofu and almond milk are elements in your seductions this is your next go to mood music/soundtrack for an evening of Kama Sutra improv with the girl from Whole Foods with the pierced vajayjay. If she's not into techno.

TED RUSSELL KAMP/Night Owl: Coming across like a veteran folkie trying to fill out his sound, this long time utility player that will either write the song you need to fill out the stack or sit in for whoever didn't show up delivers a nu roots session that feels like hard country when it doesn't feel like singer/songwriter when it doesn't feel like.... Not an easy record but a well played, meaty record perfectly centered for those afternoons when you feel like reading a novel but really don't have the patience or ambition to do so. Anyone that ever enjoyed stumbling over one of those left of center cats that went on to grow legends will get this set immediately and will probably be instrumental in helping Kamp's cult grow. This is a train well worth boarding.

JEFF BABKO/Crux: Jimmy Kimmel has been on 10 years already? And Babko has been filling the keyboard chair the whole time. Before that he was a tyro not afraid to dig in the trenches to make his bones leading him to be the replacement guy in a lot of superstar situations. While leading his own jazz band. While touring. While making you jealous that he can do it all and you can't even get out of bed. Making you realize that gumption is still alive and well. This date finds him in a mixed bag of august company riding the fusion tip hard. The sum is always greater than the parts of the whole. Yep, that means hot stuff ahead (ooops, spoiler alert) (oh yeah, this isn't a movie). Kick ass contemporary jazz from a guy that wouldn't be able to pick up many hot chicks in a bar by reeling off all his credits ("yeah, I used to back up Julio Iglesias"), this is a solidly smoking set that all contemporary jazzbos ears should tune to immediately. Well done.

Volume 36/Number 25
November 25, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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