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CYPRESS STRING QUARTET/Dvorak: Betcha these two thirty plus minute suites could cure ADD. Masterfully played by the group that took their name from some of the songs within, this crew had to have spent as much time learning about touch as they did about touching the right notes. Much more than simply elegant Sunday afternoon listening, this has the kind of playing and depth to takes it into the range of recordings that go beyond limitations. A great place for the uninitiated to enter the realm of chamber music. A great place for everyone else to stop by and lend an ear. Check it out.

NICOLE HART & ANNI PIPER/Split Second: So what's the deal with a blues record with Thelma & Louise inspiring the cover shot? The label found itself with two lady blues singers on the roster, one from Florida, one from Australia. What to do? Mash their contracts together and create a blues super group around them. Why not? The band is cooking in old school Ray Charles fashion and the duo who never net before have a feel for girl group blues. It's like the Go-Gos wanted to be the Ikettes but didn't want to be in the back ground. Nutty? You bet. Fun stuff that grabs your attention? You bet. White boy blues continues to mutate and take over with fine results.

OFFSHORE/Cote de Cologne: Essentially, a crew made up of new gen young lions from Germany that are prize wining products of the German, music education system. They learned their jazz lessons well where the accent was on playing deeply rather than playing flashily. With ECM cool school as their lode star, this angular trip through aggressive use of white space is egghead jazz where you really want to make sure you don't crack the shell. This is a good a stop for listeners who love sitting down jazz most of all.

DENIS GABEL/Neon Sounds: Still young enough and Euro enough to lend his head strong ways a certainly engaging charm, Gabel's sax sounds like New York free jazz when it was first deciding to come in from the rain making the solid decision to earn a living playing music rather than giving up and going to grad school. Versatile and dexterous, Gabel can easily play anything but this set shows him with some need to get some skronk lite out of his system before he realizes the realities of the commercial world prior to setting it on fire. A solid bet for the young and restless.

MARKUS STOCKHAUSEN & METROPOLE ORKEST: Here's some contemporary classical suites from the kid of, yeah, that Stockhausen. He doesn't set out to ape dad here, he seems more in tune with arrangers like Bill Holman and George Russell, and he's certainly not to be faulted for that. Working smartly for a large orchestra and giving conductor Jules Buckley plenty of good stuff to work with, this with certainly ring the bell for listeners that think there has to be more to contemporary classical than noise that over reaches. Check it out.

KAI SCHUMACHER/Transcriptions: Mozart would be proud. A classical piano tyro grows up in the 90s secretly digging angst and grunge. Now as an adult in pursuit of some side tracks of personal expression, he puts his stamp on malcontent music of his youth by bringing it to solo, grand piano and letting it be known that not all ivory tickling is in service of Beethoven's 5th. This is one of those personality pieces where the listener has to bring something to the table to really appreciate what the performance has to offer.

DIZZY/You Feelin Dizzy Yet?: Nothing like a white kid from the mean streets of Calgary keeping it real. This guy must have been corrupted by a steady diet of Geto Boys before making it as an underground mixmaster that now has his first solo set after a slew of mix tapes and remixes. Paying his dues along the same trajectory as Jim Jonsin, this white boy could wind up doing as much for black music as all those old school white guys with big guts and early heart attacks. He's just as ill as Beastie Boys ever were. So, take it from me, this is the shit. Aiiiight!

KAREN SOUZA/Hotel Souza: It keeps coming down to this. There are only so many notes and so many music words that can be sung. Because of that, everyone is eventually going to sound like someone before them. That's not always a bad thing when done and used right. Right from her second album, everyone was up Diana Krall's butt letting her know that she sounded like Shirley Horn, she sounded like Carmen MacRae, she sounded like Patti Wicks, rather than just enjoy what she was doing. Then her career entered the next phase, get me the next Diana Krall. Every label and every manager wanted one. For everyone that had some complaint or other about Krall, just as many were trying to capture lightening in a bottle. Labels and managers never learn this lesson. Joni Mitchell and Carole King can co-exist in the same sphere very easily, but there's little room for the next Mitchell and King; you better be Nyro or Simon. So what does this have to do with Souza? Well, there's the honey and whiskey voice, the femme fatale album liners that remind of the "Love Scenes" album liner, Joel McNeely learning quite nicely how to be Tommy LiPuma, Rich Breen wearing the mantle of Al Schmitt---yes, Souza is Krall for the new generation. Anyone amazed at how little Amazon will give you for a trade in on a copy of When I Look In Your Eyes won't be impressed by Souza. But, anyone that would have been a Krall fan 20 years ago if they weren't in diapers will welcome their own, new jazz/pop poster girl with open arms. I can already hear the jazz police and the moldy figs bitching in one ear while the sound of the Amazon buy button is clicking in the other. Let the games begin. By the way, this is killer stuff. Check it out.

BETTY BUCKLEY/Ah, Men!: As much of a Broadway baby as you can be growing up in Texas and hanging out with J. Henry Burnett, Buckley shows that it's not a fine line that demarcates yeah from meh when doing a cabaret/vocal record of Broadway standards and chestnuts. While the burnished pro might be tempted to phone it in when trodding these boards one more time, Buckley doesn't. If the tyro thinks that all you have to do is imitate a car alarm to show emotion, Buckley is politely wrinkling her nose. If her act is an act, she is certainly propelled by DNA marinated in a the play is the thing/the show must go on spirit. Personally laying it on the line with just a small group that gets it to hold the net for her, Buckley delivers throughout like an old school trouper. Hot stuff for ears tilted towards Broadway who can pretty well tell ahead of time Buckley won't let them down.

DEAD CONFEDERATE/In the Marrow: Cobain nostalgia from Athens, GA? Couldn't they have gone the whole route and looked up Butch Vig or Steve Albini while they were at it?,

Volume 37/Number 128
March 9, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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