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LISA FORKISH/Bridges: Forkish is typical of the kind of talent that's perennially bubbling under that you never quite hear about but really should. With an impressive, easily checkable vitae that most others would have to try hard to make up, Forkish has killer vocal chops but needs to lose that skin that develops when you've been making things happen behind the scenes in fine style for just a touch too long. The song choices area touch all over the map, but Forkish makes them work as a whole making for a load of the goofy fun you get when you take a flyer on a $5 Amazon mp3 that looks cool and gives you little risk if it blows but turns out to be a winner. Abetted by a musical BFF that's Eddie Henderson's daughter, this is a talent on her way to somewhere good. Check it out.

TERRY OLDFIELD/Journey Into Space: Who can blame Oldfield for wanting to make some changes? As eminent as cats like him and Jim Asher are, there comes a time when cats like that feel the itch. Fresh off a massive reissue program at Universal, totally tubular brother Mike stops by to lend a hand for a set of impressionistic music the Oldfield's tag as space music. What happens if other people get different impressions once the music leaves your hands? The opening track sounds like spaghetti western new age music. The rest kind of falls in line as space music for the physical plane. Looks like another line item coming up for Massage Envy as they'll have to rush to update their music libraries. Wild stuff for next generation new age ears that will prove themselves to be as restless as another genre fan. Really a neat new sonic adventure from the Oldfield clan.

GRACE/various: A classically styled mediation album collected from the catalogs of several of the label reliable, stalwarts, this collection is one of those well woven, well chosen sets that invites you to dig deeper. Far from being the kind of new age that's the punch line of jokes, this is a solid collection aimed primarily at the devotee while being accessible enough to bring a new host of curious into the tent. Check it out.

HASHEM ASSADULLAHI/Pieces: When you aren't listening too close, this sounds like it could easily launch into church basement jazz--and you'd be wrong. It's a lot closer to Stan Kenton having the band play in colors to support his symphonic explorations. For ears primed by the sax experimenters of the 50s and 60s, Assadullahi comes across as a worthy successor to the tradition. Clearly a solid session of egghead jazz, if you're looking for some art jazz that doesn't scream art jazz at you, this is a well chosen sonic novel for a Sunday afternoon.

LARY BARILLEAU & The Latin Collective/Carmen's Mambo: Democratic, populist, feel good music with just enough special sauce slathered on to make it stand out from the product can be some of the best musical comfort food around. Recorded over two years in several locations, this crew was determined to serve no salsa before it's time. The wait was worth it. More concerned with being in the pocket than fashionable, this is the kind of Latin jazz that's merrily accessible to all. Snappy, smoking and totally caliente, this is just the stuff to chase away the mid winter blahs. Check it out.

INBAR FRIDMAN/Time Quartet Project: What started out as a female guitar/piano section that wound up playing with Billy Cobham and others, the principals found their way back to their native Israel, added some more permanent members to round out the combo sound and proceed to serve up a straight ahead jazz date that cooks. Deceptively simple, the interplay between the instruments is so finely woven that you know there's no studio frippery underpinning it. This is sitting down jazz that's righteously on the money throughout. Well done.

MIMI FOX/Standards Old and New: When you've paid the dues and risen to the top ala Fox, you have earned the right to strut your stuff on a solo guitar date that can only make jaws drop and heads turn. Starting with a base of her admiration for Joe Pass and proceeding to add her own special sauce, Fox makes personal decisions about what belongs in the jazz canon and let's Guthrie and Dylan comfortably take their places among a nice cross section of the usual suspects. Clearly a dream date for the jazz guitar fan that wants it to sound as close to the source as possible, expecting it all to be in good hands.

PAMELA HINES/3.2.1: Others bitch and moan, Hines continues to run her own label, release a consistent stream of music and has yet to find us pushing the skip button when listening to her. The theme running through this date is a mix of trio, duo and solo tracks (now you get the title?), and once again, it all goes down like a dream. Tasty in all formats and always giving the classics and chestnuts on parade a run for their money, piano jazz is in good hands for yet another year. Leading with chops so golden they know they don't have to prove themselves, or rub it in along the way either, this is taking over the land of as good as it gets. Check it out.

Volume 37/Number 78
January 18, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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