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MONICA RAMEY & the Beegie Adair Trio: Anthony Wilson says this thrush can warble and Adair went so far as to start a record label to release her, so I'm tempted not to even listen to it and just tell you it's a winner. Not sporting? Oh, alright, I'll be back in an hour. Tick tick tick tick. Back again. I win. How does so much cool, mainstream jazz come out of Nashville? Pairing an mainstream jazz trio that's proud of being mainstream and a vocalist who knows how to deliver in service to the song yields a classic feeling jazz vocal record with no dust on it. Exactly what you'd go to a piano bar to hear instead of dried cheese they usually serve, this is jazz to hang out with. Abashedly accessible from all the participants, this is a great gateway drug for potential jazzbos too intimidated by the jazz police and unable to know which Coltrane and Miles to jump in with. Well done throughout.

CHARLES "CD" DAVIS & FRIENDS/24 Hour Blues: Hmm, an H-town white boy that played in a blues orchestra that backed up Willie Nelson and found he had to go out on his own when the orchestra leader died. What's that add up to? A gulf coat chitlin circuit show band that kicks ass. Powered by a passel of cats that know how important a good time is, the jumping blues, hot blues, revival blues and blue blooded blues are all smoking in equal proportion. Traditional and standard without being cliché, this is the well placed kick in the ass you need when your ass is dragging and you need an real antidote to the blues. Check it out.

PATTY PETERSON/The Very Thought of You: Bloody hell, this is why we have no respect for label people anymore. Ricky Peterson's sister shows the Peterson family is one of those gene pools where chops were spread around generously. A mainstay in commercials and an award winner in her own right, bro Rick rounds up a raft of major label pals to makes a major label sounding set that the majors would pass on because it doesn't meet the standards of the jazz police. Kicking off with some friendly, speedy smooth jazz meets Brazil and proceeding to move around the chess board in a pleasing manner, this is the kind of record that would revitalize major label jazz departments. The kind of record nobody would like except the fans, a lot of them. This is a wonderful, contemporary jazz vocal date that is a gift that keeps on giving. Hot stuff.

KEVIN SELFE/Long Walk Home: During the era of the masters of the universe, Selfe was in school studying to be a weather man. The lack of dates left him a lot of time to practice his blues guitar. He wouldn't have wanted those greedy bitches anyway. Now that the masters of the universe from that era have long crashed and burned and those babes who passed him by are going through dumpsters to find discarded cans of food with botulism for cheap botox, Selfe is the award winning king of Portland's white boy blues. Ditching the group identity this time around, Selfe is firmly in touch with his chitlin circuit show band side. You might not mistake him for Bobby Rush, but there's a reason why he's been racking up awards like others attract tartar, he knows how to let the good times roll. Abetted here by a veritable contemporary blues all star A team, Selfe kicks it into gear in fine style. A totally wonderful party record that delivers the goods early and often.

ANDY T-NICK NIXON BAND/Drink Drank Drunk: Mash up time. A kid learning about the blues from British blues rockers and finding out just who they were stealing the stuff from starts digging deeper around the same time an H-town belter is signing to the tail end of the reign of Chess Records and realizing he has to make a career change if he wants his babies to eat right. They get together later in life after life has given them some interesting choices a long the way. Sparks fly. A classic Chicago/Houston cross pollination results here. After all the bullshit, blues performers are getting back to basics just like the new traditionalist country singers did in the wake of crossover crashing. It worked for them then and it's working for the blues belters/guitar slingers now. All these pop years of show gaze and angst have made people forget what it is to be entertained, feel good and be uplifted and it's great to see dyed in the wool bluester roosters lead the way out of the diaspora. Killer stuff.

GARY NUNEZ & PLENA LIBRE/Corazon: Oh, the things the average gringo doesn't know about Puerto Rican music. He probably can't tell the difference between this and the third world party music in "Romancing the Stone". He probably doesn't know Tito Puente was Puerto Rican. He still wants to know why the Sharks dance so much when they rumble. But--he does know the difference between good music and bad. He does know which kind of Latin music encourages breaking out the cerveza. And he knows which music will let him adapt the white guy dance to the Steve Martin mambo so he can shut his uptight, white, honky chica up and dance occasionally without feeling clumsy and gay. Hold your stomach with one hand, point with the other. Sway your hips and shuffle your feet. This is great white guy/Steve Martin mambo dance music. And best of all, you can tell her you tried. Nunez and his pals are doing more for pan cultural relations than they realize with their pan Caribbean genre splicing. This is a ticket to having her let you enjoy the Super Bowl and the play offs because at least you tried. Guys everywhere want Nunez for President.

SORA/Scorpion Moon: Tired of waiting for Loreena McKennitt to make another great album? Sora must have been too and declared herself up to the task going so far as to grab some Canadian arts council money to strut her stuff. An art chick to the core, she could easily be mistaken for McKennitt's younger sister. This set might not be ready to kick "The Mask & the Mirror"'s ass quite yet, but the lessons learned from that set have been well absorbed here. Give it a spin and see if this doesn't give you echoes of bonny swans and ladies of Shallot. Easily McKennitt updated for the daughters of a generation ago ready to leave EDM behind as kid stuff but still want a sideways taste of it.

TIMOTHY WENZEL/A Coalescence of Dreams: Even though it's not applicable to his music, someone ought to tell this kid not to say things like he gets most of his ideas when he's falling asleep. There's too many snipers ready to take that and run with it when presented with a NAC/new age album they didn't really listen to. If you really listen to this, you get a solid impressionistic/soundscape set that might well be the intersection of dreams. His thesis behind this set is actually a good premise for a touchy feely movie by some actor doing his one for me picture. As much Yes-lite as it is Yanni, there's a nice flowering here continuing to blossom as he releases each new set. Tasty stuff for the new ager looking for something with bite he can sink his teeth into as well.

Volume 37/Number 86
January 26, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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