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ADINA EVEN ZOHAR/For the First Time in a Long Time: A great throwback to the jazz thrush that didn't need to be over the top all the time about everything. With a crisp, well enunciated delivery leading the way, this jazz singer cuts right to the chase letting her vocal chops deliver all the sparks that are needed. Working out on a set of classics with a backing crew that understands the mission implicitly, this is a must for someone that wants a jazz vocal date they can really feel at one with. Well done throughout and sure to snare you with it's deceptive simplicity.

CAMERA/The Panic & the Performance: Reminiscent of Early Talking Heads as filtered through some Brit moves, you really can't expect kids today to want to get into almost 40 year old dissatisfaction even if they can get it cheap on Amazon when they can have so much of their own stuff to be disaffected over, can you? First class mopey teen music without rolling into the shoe gaze ditch.

GRADY CHAMPION/Tough Times Don't Last: A contemporary take on traditional blues, complete with electric guitar a blazing. The lyrics certainly reflect contemporary concerns and address the times were in, accompanied by primal screams, blistering harp and all the things you want to hear to make it a real blues record. With an unmistakable down home sound throughout, this record shows there still might be hope for the roadhouse at the edge of town. Hot stuff from one of the current greats.

SAMUEL BLASER QUARTET/As the Sea: Euro art jazz. If way left of ECM is your thing, this might be for you

IAN CAREY QUINTET + 1/Roads & Codes: Ah, the joys of playing beat the clock. Recorded in an afternoon like all the 50s classics and enduring sessions, Carey and his crew ditched the improv skills and went to tightly plotted set as he got in touch with his inner Bill Holman for a set that plays with your head in fine fashion. Tossing some Bethlehem into the classic Bluenote/Verve mix, anyone that feels safe going retro without being a moldy fig will salivate over this champion of a session. Solid stuff that never hit's a false note. The hand drawn comic cover is a nice touch as well.

MARIA JACOBS/Art of the Duo: Art chick jazz in which we find a jazz vocalist hitting the standards with a rotating cast of other accompanists, one at a time. A second cousin to the Japanese imports you'd find on www.dustygroove.com of 50s jazz singers you never really heard of doing claustrophobic sessions whose success rises and falls on the way you feel about the singer's personality.

DEVON ALLMAN/Turquoise: One of those Allman kids takes a busman's holiday from his regular band to do a solo album with various pals and running mates. A life on the road rocking tale, this loosely themed set has the scion kicking it his style about life on the road that goes on forever and where it takes him. A well done coming of age set that tells what it's like to follow your muse. He looks like dad, has accepted his place in the gene trail, likes Stax and has Jim Gaines producing. What else do you need to know what you're getting into?

HEIDI HAPPY/On the Hills: What is it about a wan, female voice and and an easy rolling folkie background sound that gets you almost every time? A best of set pulled from her three previous sets, this Swiss sweetie has been knocking them dead over there with more than just the wan folkie thing and now she's turning her sights on us. A today kind of record rather than one that wears a Joni Mitchell lineage, Happy might not always be upbeat but it's a pretty sure bet that she'll whet your whistle if any of these descriptors appeal to you. Check it out.

LISA KIRCHNER/Umbrellas in Mint: Kirchner's latest finds her really comfortable in her own skin and really hitting it out of the park. A jazz vocal set of all originals with some first call cats backing her up, Kirchner's originals sound familiar providing a great hook to draw you in as you try to figure out where you've heard them before----and you haven't! With a hipster edge that she wears well, nobody is going to be mistaking Kirchner for an art chick again anytime too soon. Killer stuff.

Volume 37/Number 106
February 15, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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