MAHALA RAI BANDA/Balkan Reggae Remixed: When it first came out dry, Balkan Reggae was a fun mash up. Now that's it's caught hipster's fancies, it's time to make it wet and get it remixed by a bunch of top cats from around the world. Talk about your mash ups! A Romanian wedding band dips their toes in reggae grabbing the attention of old school cats like Mad Professor as well as young bloods that are clawing their way up the ladder and have two cents to add. Wild kitchen sink music that turns everything on it's head, if you can handle a side order of a humor with your reggae main course a whole new world is going to open up for you're here. Check it out and lively yourself up.
BIG BILL MORGANFIELD/Blues With a Mood: When last (actually first as well) we met Morganfield, there was no doubt that he was Muddy's kid, but you knew it wasn't a good idea to call him L'il Muddy, even for marketing reasons. A nice tip of the cap to celebrate Muddy's 100th birthday, Morganfield spared no expense bringing in a murderer's row line up of players to give this set the right feel and sound. Straddling that traditional feel/modern sound line, this is some seriously real blooz---like the kind that first turned out all those white kids in the 60s. This would have been right at home at Chess. Killer stuff throughout.
THE 25 BEST JAZZ TUNES OF 1960/various: Well, here's the birth of what will hopefully be a great, new series. Most art criticism is subjective, but who can argue with the two disc tracking here that mixes those you know with those you should know---especially if you want to be a hipster worthy of your Elvis Costello hat. An utterly groovy set that gives you the long over due chance to appreciate Jimmy Heath, George Russell and Tubby Hayes after you've been pulled into the tent by accessible Coltrane, Miles, Duke Jordan, Art Pepper and other greats. Dig it!
MARK WEINSTEIN/Todo Carazon: The flute playing Jewish kid with the caliente tastes puts the flute front and center in this set of tango with Pablo Aslan writing the charts and helping bring the heat. (This is serious stuff for those of you not well versed in Latin music). With a long career playing the hot stuff, Weinstein packs a lifetime of sizzle into these grooves that opens up tango in ways you haven't heard before. A smoking set, it's first class sitting down jazz that makes it hard to stay in your seat, but if you looked like something other than Steve Martin goofing around---you would get up and tango instead of sit around and listen to it. Either way, your ears are the winner here.
GRANT LANGSTON/Working Until I Die: Back when everyone was listening to Led Zep, Beach Boys and other chart toppers, outsiders were proud to listen to stuff made out beyond the land of Byrds. Bakersfield! Non Waylon/Willie outlaw! Proto punk/insurgent county that made George Jones look like the Sugar Plum Fairy. Great stuff all. Langston makes it seem like other people were listening as well long before the Internet could bring the malcontents together. Working man's blues for the 10s (he turned off his phone and email!), this is killer stuff. Insurgent country that mixes twang with strum and drang, this easily makes up for all that lost vinyl that was more valuable than Clearasil for getting us through our teen years. Check it out.
HITMAN BLUES BAND/Blues Enough: In this Twitter obsessed, short attention span world, bet you'd know what we mean when we call this authentic blues by and for white people. The spirit of a chitlin circuit show band as filtered through west side Chicago, this is amped up real blues as opposed to blues/rock. Directly imported from the roadhouse at the edge of town, these honkies don't honk out no frat house blues, these cats almost sound like they know what it is to work a day job on an automotive line or at the post office. Now that's blues! Check it out, this is the real deal.
SHAMIE ROYSTON/Portraits: Tia Fuller is the hot chick that hangs with Beyonce and Royston is the hot chick that hangs with Fuller and has the kind of muscled up piano player arms Michelle Obama would trade a cabinet draft choice for. A fearless jazzbo that's working her way up in the world, her playing follows in the spirit of Tina Turner, it's nice and rough. With elements of crime jazz, free jazz and a bunch of their modes that have tickled your fancy, Royston is a newcomer that knows how to plant her flag. This is a tasty set that gleefully colors outside the lines without a drop of preciousness begging you to engage in some artistic look-at-me! A seriously wide open set for seriously wide open ears.
WHALING CITY SOUND
JOHN STEIN/Bing Bang Boom!: We've always liked jazz guitarists that record titles like Bing Bang Boom and Belo Horizonte so why shouldn't we like the latest from this jazz guitarist as well? A swinging set with his long time combo in tow, Stein kicks it off in fine style serving up a listening jazz date that will keep you listening throughout. Not looking to be locked into anything that would impede the cause of creativity and freedom for chops, Stein and crew are the kind of cats you'd make it down to your local watering hole to check out night after night. A winning set.
Volume 37/Number 113
February 22, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record
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