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FRANK VIGNOLA & VINNY RANIOLO/Melody Magic: The former guitar tyro is now an adult you just don't want to mess with. A jazzbo that can play anything, he might not be as well known to the general public by name as he should be but his sound has been everywhere for the last 30 years. Here we find him and his long time pal kicking it out on a mostly classical program turning familiar classics so far on their heads that you know you know the melody but really have to reach to remember the title. Beethoven, Carmen, Swan Lake---fugediboudit!, you've never heard them like this. There's also some classic pop that gets turned out and turned around as well. Simply a smashing guitar date that should be on any guitar fan's top ten list, even this early in the year. Killer stuff.

FLETCHER: Can this bubbling under Chicago trio make people realize that Smashing Pumpkins was 20 years ago already and kids want some kvetching that sounds like their own kvetching instead of their parent's kvetching? Could they be the ones? Magic 8 ball says things look good. Making all the right Chicago moves, only time will tell.

MOLLY HOLM/Permission: For me, the wildest thing about this record that that I was just thinking about Don Moye a few weeks ago. With so many members of AACM gone, I was wondering what he's been up to since he's getting along in years as well. Then this record shows up and he's the drummer on it. Who should I wonder about next? A Bay area jazzbo with more than a few years and a few stellar credits under her belt, this original member of Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra has her art chick cred down to a t and that's only the tip of her art chick credits. A heady brew of left leaning Bay sounds, free wheeling jazzbo and art chick moves make this add up to a wonderful left leaning jazz vocal date that seems like a domestic version of exotica. Wild stuff for the open eared to check out.

LARA DOWNEY/Exile's Café: A very special solo classical piano set, Downes takes her touch and turns it towards a collection of miniatures themed around music by exiles that weren't allowed back in their home countries. An overriding feeling of longing wends through these otherwise diverse works. A clear cut winner for some Sunday afternoon listening after lunch is cleared away and you want something different to work on your mind as the afternoon whiles away. Great stuff.

CLANNAD/Christ Church Cathedral: The companion dvd to the recent cd release kicking off Clannad's 4oth anniversary, this is a solid bet for the more visually inclined Celtic music fan. Expanded a bit, it loses none of the charm and chops of the cd and is actually kind of a bonus since computer jockeys can run this on the optical disc player and enjoy it without even running the visuals as they do their surfing. A wonderful outing by a family band at the top of the their long running game.

BULLET COLLECTOR: Some stories are essentially timeless even if the trappings of the times move things down the line. Here we find a kid getting bullied and retreating into a fantasy world after his world becomes even worse. A journey through his mind and the vectors it takes, this Russian, contemporary updating of pics like 400 Blows will ring with timid kids looking for something that shows them there is a way out, no matter how bleak things become. Pics like this show that film making continues to get more international while taking on a world wide view in which foreign films aren't so foreign any more. Art house fans should give this their attention.

Volume 37/Number 104
February 13, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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