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MYQ KAPLAN/Meat Robot: The vegan comic with a sense of humor about himself and an act well known to anyone who watches late night TV, Kaplan's contemporary take on stand up has him serving them up hot and fast like a joke machine set to full tilt. With some comics, they keep the jokes coming fast and furiously without worrying about misfires, on this set Kaplan does the fast and furious but leaves no misfires in his wake. It's hard to imagine anyone shopping at Whole Foods having a sense of humor so it would seem the audience he is getting laughs from and reflecting toward is made up of people that don't shop at Whole Foods. The most subversive part of Kaplan's act is you have to be smart to get the jokes. Another parallel universe? Eggheads with a sense of humor? Well, he sure as hell knows how to deliver laughs for everything that thinks Sheldon Cooper is hysterical to watch but not to know.

MIKE LAWRENCE/Sadamantium: With a sound and fury that almost has the vocal mannerisms of Wildman Fischer, this proud comedy nerd that has opened for Marc Maron and Tom Papa is much more everyman than lunatic. Once he gets up to speed, he finds his footing as your best pal that sat in the back row of the classroom and was much more interesting than the teacher when his antics took center stage. Wielding a comedy laser that he freely wields in all direction, this is some searingly snappy contemporary stand up where the cuprites are delivered to all fields. One dandy laugh riot.

CHUCHO VALDES/Border Free: The title of this Afro Cuban jazz piano ace's latest is no idle boast. With Branford Marsalis joining his Afro Cuban Messengers, this sounds more like a high octane, post bop set with piano replacing sax and letting the fur fly from there. Re-energized after several worthy artistic victories, Valdes has retooled, put the pedal closer to the medal and left what you normally think of as Afro-Cuban way back in the dust. There are enough ethnic touches to comfortably call this world jazz but why bother calling it anything other than a stone cold killer. Smoking, hot stuff throughout.

BOB JAMES-DAVID SANBORN/Quartette Humaine: This could also be easily known as "Bob and Dave Play Pretty for the People". The two long time jazzbos team up for a sweet, easy acoustic date that takes a bit of a turn away from recent Fourplay sides and gives Sanborn the chance to blow up a quiet storm without getting winded along the way. Two steps above dinner jazz but just as friendly, these pros cut through the clutter by not showing off and letting their formidable chops speak eloquently for themselves. Tasty stuff that'll make mature listeners forget about their underwater mortgages long enough to let the wine that goes well with this set give them a good buzz. A fine session throughout.

MICHEL CAMILO/What's Up?: The well decorated, well traveled jazz piano vet takes it back to the old days in several ways here. First off, this is a solo set that puts him front and center by himself recorded so well that you can hear his fingers hitting the keys. Yep, real you-are-there stuff. Second, he let's his Tatum/whorehouse piano side shine brightly and this takes you right back to the days when stride piano first made you wonder how those guys did that. Another snazzy entry in the non-existent ‘plays just for you' series of intimate albums that say a lot by speaking little, solo jazz piano fans need to wake up and smell this coffee because this is a killer set that goes well beyond what's expected. Check it out.

VANDAVEER/Oh, Willie, Please...: Classic folk music murder ballads done by pomo folkies that left their sense of irony at home when they showed up at the studio. Played straight but not straight from the folk music sarcophagus, you can dig this without being into either Dylan or Mumford. Like something you'd come across on either Tradition or Waterbug, this is music that doesn't worry about fad or fashion and just delivers stuff from the wild side of life directly from the heart. These kids are authentic without being dusty and give you the sense they can do anything. This is a wonderful gateway to folk music exploration. Check this good ‘un out.

ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE Homemade Records 1958-62: If you really want to enjoy one of the greatest muso bathroom books of all time, you have to understand some of the ground rules in advance. This coffee table book is about vanity (do it yourself) records, not homemade records by outsiders and lunatics. This is a celebration of records that didn't fit the format for whatever reason even if some of them went on to have incredibly long and strong legs and sell well beyond the makers gene pool. Accompanied by a load of the actual music celebrated here that stands up as some of the best music you probably never heard, this goes way beyond junk shop culture. Written in documentary style, you can open it anywhere and not miss a step. As big and fat as this tome is, someone will have a complaint about what was left out, and they should just sit back and wait for volume two. One of the few coffee table books that'll matter this year.

CLIP: Here's a walk on the wild side in modern day Serbia. Take "Kids", move it to the wrong side of the tracks in Serbia and let the games begin as a 14 year old runs unchecked exploring anything and everything that falls under the realm of kicks. A new version of the wild west transplanted to the hood, all your worst thoughts of Eastern Europe are splashed across the screen in titillating, tawdry glory. Believe it or not, this is "Easy Rider' for the no tomorrow generation.

50 SHADES OF BONDAGE: And for all you whippersnappers that think You Porn, F*cking Machines and 50 Shades are something new under the sun, here's a two hour ride in the way back machine when Irving Klaw and Bettie Page wannabes were trying to outwit the postal inspectors and titillate with high heels, hair pulling, corsets, spankings and loads of girl on girl rope tricks. This stuff is so old that it got your pop hot when he found the 8mm film loops in your grandpa's sock drawer. And to think stuff like this is the fount from which so much fetish flows from. You might not want to watch these silent loops back to back but if you need some video wallpaper for your next fetish party, this'll be something that gets the party started.

Volume 37/Number 210
May 30, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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