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MARC JOHNSON-ELIANE ELIAS/Swept Away: No longer the fresh faced cherub that could make Jobim sit up and take notice all over again as she worked her way through his canon, Elias is all grown up with an adult kid that's come into the family business. With that under her belt, why shouldn't Elias be allowed to put away the things of her youth and make grown up jazz for grown ups? While her last few albums were solid efforts, it didn't feel like her heart was in it and she was being pushed to fit the format. Some Brazil meets urban jazz and dance beats. Elias could play computer code and make it sound good but why fight the feelings? With Joey Baron and Joe Lovano on board, this easily fit's the ECM framework but the personalities still shine through. While far from being cocktail hour Elias, she shows a softer side that you would have expected to emerge back when she was sambaing her way into your heart the first time around. It's a solid shot of tasty grown up jazz for grown ups looking to enjoy a date with an easy chair and some sonic comfort.

MARCUS GOLDHABER/Almost Love: If his upcoming star turn in a show about Harold Arlen goes right, his career will be on a much different path, but for right now, his third album, his first relying heavily on originals, finds him answering the question about where the Michael Franks' of tomorrow are going to come from. A rising star in the big apple, Goldhamer's easy rolling smooth/lite jazz falls right in that Franks pocket where it's good stuff but you either like him or you don't---and if you do like him, naysayers better get out of your way. A great dose of soft sounds for noisy times, that's for sure.

MERL SAUNDERS-JERRY GARCIA/Keystone Companions-The Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings: All it took was 40 years and the death of the principles for the complete version of these original albums to be housed in one package---complete with facsimile reproductions of the matchbooks that only cool people got. At the time, this was a real coup for Fantasy as Brubeck wasn't on roster anymore and CCR was falling apart in dissention. Either you loved Garcia and fell in line as this seemed like a credible Dead spin off or you thought it was as self indulgent as most of the early 70s Dead stuff. Now, it can be appreciated as a bunch of hippies jamming on Motown and other stuff they liked in a hippie setting in a hippie town. Since it's the complete sessions, you get several tracks repeated and seven previously unreleased tracks (takes). Kids, this is the way it used to be when musos were having fun off the clock. You never knew what the result would be or what would happen but the live snap was what kept you coming back for more, not auto tune and costume changes. If you ever wondered what 4 discs of hippie heaven sounded like, or if you were looking for that gift that would make grandpa sit up and take notice....

GLEN CAMPBELL & JIMMY WEBB/In Session: Look what you find when you go digging in the crates. This 1983 Canadian TV special with just Campbell on guitar and Webb on piano that probably hasn't been aired since 1988 and have never been released on disc is a killer capo to the long goodbye that Campbell has been playing out in public. Unplugged before there was unplugged, this cd-dvd package doesn't focus on the hits we all know by heart but is top heavy with hits just the same. If you have a soft spot for the piece of the pop pantheon this pairing represents, this stripped down sight and sound of it all will really ring your bell.. And keep your finger away from the skip and fast forward button, you want to hear Webb's commentary. Check it out.

AARON HARDIN/Coming Home for Christmas: Sorry the post office dropped the ball on getting this here before Christmas because this would have been great to let you know about in a timely fashion. I'm telling you about it now so you can pin it and be on top of things for Xmas 2013. Hardin, a top shelf figure in the world of black music, goes jazzbo on this romp through the Christmas classics. Corralling a bunch of pals from his various musical travels, he comes in with something familiar but so fresh it takes your breath away. It's only a matter of time before this cat comes out from behind the control board and tries Quincy Jones' shoes on for size. Maybe you shouldn't wait until the holidays roll around again. Hot stuff.

GRACE KELLY/Live at Scullers: In which we find the sax tyro and star of Boston spreading her wings adding originals songs and vocals to her arsenal that sound like Joni Mitchell voicing Taylor Swift sentiments. The moldy figs that enjoyed her tipping the cap to Phil Woods may be bewildered but the youngsters we need to keep bringing into the jazz tent might well relate--especially girls and sensitive boys. By the way, she can still wail on that sax. It' a bag breaker of a set but she's still a jazzbo in her heart and she doesn't keep those feelings to herself.

MORT WEISS/I'll Be Seeing You: How nice of vet jazzbo Weiss not to make good on his threat to make his last album his last album. Instead of going it alone this time around, he's got a bopping, swinging combo backing him up where everyone is on the same page and out to deliver a groovy, after hours session that just blows your mind with all the jazz history that's pumping through every note here. Tasty stuff from an old pro that plays it straight but doesn't have a dram of moldy fig on him. Check it out.

LAPLAND ODYSSEY: Oh, admit it, if you came across a pic that trumpeted itself as the wildest comedy to come out of Finland in years you'd be rolling your eyes so hard they'd fall out of your head. A multiple festival winner, this is like "The Hangover" with a hursky-dursky accent and Russian gangsters. For those of you who watch cinema and film instead of movies but still want to let loose with the occasional muffled guffaw when no one is in earshot, this is the popcorn comedy for you. Left of center enough that no one will debate your hipster cred, even if you admit to liking it, it's 2013, get your laughs where you find them. And quit rolling your freaking eyes. Fun stuff.

Volume 36/Number 63
January 2, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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