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ATTACCA QUARTET/Fellow Traveler-Complete String Quartet Music of John Adams: It took a while for American contemporary classical composers to be taken seriously but once John Adams set the pace, there was no looking back. This ten year old quartet chooses Adams' works for their debut recording and now there's no looking back for them as well. Challenging work that covers a lot of bases, this could be a definitive work for all parties involved and give the crew the impetus to become known as the premiere outlet for Adams' works. If you know Adams, then it pays for you to get to know the Attaccas as well. They have a knack for finding all the nuance in Adams work and giving it voice.

RICH THOMPSON/Less is More: Drummer Thompson gathers up a bunch of first call modern jazzbos for a romp through some back pages that almost has you feeling that this is Terell Stafford's session as he takes the lead right out front. Everyone else is up for the task of delivering a hard charging, bopping set where the energy and good vibes flow mightily and the old tunes sound so freshened up you might not even recognize them. Hard hitting stuff that really delivers the upbeat daddio sound so well that it's quickly going to become a fave. Well done.

ANTHONY BRANKER & Word Play/Uppity: If you aren't a fan of Branker yet, it might surprise you how often his name turns up with new records under his belt. What might surprise you more is that many of these are with different aggregations offering different sounds and styles from the others. Here we find him in full on civil rights jazz mode but with the music more accessible than the typical 60s trip to the church basement. A mostly instrumental set, this is rousing enough to get honkys fist pumping and hollering ‘get whitey' too as the titles give lie to what lies underneath quite accurately. We're not one world yet and there's still a few things that need to be addressed rather then swept under the carpet. Once again music is the universal language, here sending a message with more flair than all the brow beating in the world could muster. Hot stuff.

JARED GOLD/Intuition: A jumping B3 organ date with Gold having both hands firmly on the wheel but only needing one finger to steer. Smoking. In the pocket. Killer stuff. The review writes itself but the real fun is in the listening. Tackling a bunch of originals that catch your attention and make you care, Gold is the heir to Jimmy Smith. Everything else is off the table. Be there or be a dunce.

LORETTA LYNN/Blue Kentucky Girl-I Like Em Country: For all of us that have ever chaffed when told what to do, maybe it wasn't such a bad thing when guys like Owen Bradley ruled Nashville with an iron fist. These two 60s sessions remind me of why I liked country when country wasn't cool. Certainly, these sides wouldn't stand so tall today if Lynn hadn't brought something heavy duty to the table, it does give some thought about what a collaborative effort great records are. With bonus tracks that make up most of a third album as well, Lynn is so primal and heartfelt that the tastes and samples on her early 90s box set didn't do these early sides justice. Culling material from a wide swatch of Nashville, including originals, Lynn made music that defined over night airplay and it's easy to see in hindsight how she forged a legend. Nearly 50 years old, it's regrettable that country radio kicked artists like her off the dial back in the early 90s. Jack White later proved that with the proper direction her enduring appeal would endure. Hot stuff you don't have to be a country fan to be captivated by in the least.

RAJENDRA TEREDESAI/Path of the Divine: A lot of times, when a soundtrack producer wants something exotic for an underscore, they seem to hint as material like this but hearing this recording makes you realize how much they miss the boat by. Not a typical new age/healing record, Teredesai transposes ragas for bamboo flute taking them someplace else entirely. With some electronic help to round out the sound, this collection of mind music is the gateway to some far away place you imagine so it doesn't matter how accurate your visions are. A set of wild musical/soundscapes for when you need some quiet time for getting centered, this is way cheaper than therapy and goof balls. It doesn't fall easily into prescribed jazz, world, new age categories, and isn't really any of either but it really does come from a cat that knows how to blow in mind in ways you haven't contemplated. Check it out.

STICK MEN/Deep: Fan funding is a great thing. If the fans want to hear the rhythm, section of King Crimson and one of their buddies play contemporary prog rock that sounds like it should have titles like "Freddy and Jason Go to Hell", why shouldn't they? Patronage worked for Mozart until his ass got too big for his underwear. While this set is certainly not for everyone, it takes the house concert concept to it's next logical extreme. The musos got the money and budget they felt good about, the fans got exactly what they asked for. Put that in your mass market pipe and smoke it. Not only has niche arrived, the creators get to keep the copyright as well.

COMMANDER CODY & His Modern Day Airmen/Live from the Island: A lot of Lost Planet Airmen have gone on make their marks on Americana so why shouldn't the Modern Day Airmen really be the later day members The Band? Did you know Americana could rock? Like this? We thought the recent Emmylou/Rodney Crowell duet set the standard for how to compete with your younger self but to hear these cats rock like this with 40 years of full tilt boogie under their belts leads us to revise the standard once again. Outsider rockers for two generations, there's no dust on this bunch as they rollick through a live 'greatest hits' set that'll have you jumping and hollering for more before you realize you're yelling at a record. Better for getting your blood flowing than Plavix. Hot stuff throughout by pros that know their business and how to get the job done.

AMY SCHUMER/Mostly Sex Stuff: Coming along in the wake of "Bridesmaids", Schumer was one of the shock troops of female stand ups that qualified as a one of the guys kind of gal. Her schtick must have really resonated since she's now selling out theaters. Jumping up to her first hour long stand up special, one of the comedy roasts great wraiths shows her other side with an engaging hour of switch backs, non sequitors, asides and hilarity the mixes up self-deprecating slaps, slowly seething anger, hostility and other stuff that turns into a heady brew of laughs that just doesn't quit. She's a full blown star now and her arc is just beginning. Also included are some of her roatiest roast moments.

Volume 37/Number 136
March 17, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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