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RB STONE/Loosen Up: Not exactly blues, not exactly rock, this hard charging roots rocking guitar slinger brings his restless spirit to the music one more time for one more rollicking time. A fist pumping, good time, party of a record, this is just the smoking kind of date that let's you blow off too much pent up steam and forget your cares for a while. For those with raging hormones of any age, you can just imagine this guy raising hell with Waylon in his prime. Check it out.

LARRY CORBAN/The Circle Starts Here: Mix some Wes Montgomery playing with Joe Pass chording and the ability to shift gears without missing a beat and you pretty sum up what this new jazz guitarist can deliver. Having honed his chops with a host of players from then and now as well and uptown and downtown, jazz guitar is in good hands here. This album zips along, well paced, well played, and gives you that back in the day feeling from when there were producers that wanted to sell records but actually cared about what was on them. Heady stuff that doesn't have to hit you over the head to impress you, Corban is really onto something good here with this set of almost all originals that keeps you hooked. Check it out.

WAYNE WALLACE LATIN JAZZ QUINTET/Latin Jazz Jazz Latin: Afro-Caribe music with flexible borders and fuzzy edges has been my breakfast music of choice lately and this Cuban flavored jazz is going into rotation tomorrow morning. Bay area fixture Wallace isn't one to let grass grow under his feet and this set feels like the one where he really pulls all his varied chops together for a non-stop killer date. Authentically Cuban but not strictly Cuban, this date might just be as welcome in the morning as that first cup of coffee. Tasty stuff that pulls out all the stops giving you everything you cold ask for in a mainstream Cuban/Latin jazz date, it's killer stuff throughout.

SASHA'S BLOC/Melancholy: Typically, if a doctor can write a big enough check to surround himself with first call cats, record a session and press up records, if he doesn't embarrass himself in the process, we won't either. We won't say he's the greatest thing since sliced bread, but we won't piss in his Cheerios either. Over achieving, Russian born, Alex Gershman is another story. When not busy inventing new kinds of robotic surgery, he indulges his passion for American jazz, specifically jazz from the 20s and 30s. Does he stop there? No! He then goes on to write stuff that sounds like it came from that period. And there's nothing camp or jive about it. What can't this guy do? This record is a gasser! You don't have to be a fan of old timey stuff to get into it, you just like to listen to things that make you smile. This record is the Life cereal of jazz. You gonna wait until you see if Mikey likes it or you gonna dive in and enjoy it first? A winner throughout.

MARSHALL CHAPMAN/Blaze of Glory: Chapman was indie before indie was cool, and the proof of that is the way "Betty's Being Bad" leapt off a Tall Girl cassette years before it was a hit for someone else. Like a novelist that blossoms in obscurity, at 64 Chapman is doing it on her own, her own way and doing the best stuff she's done in nearly 40 years of doing stuff. With the Nashville contingent of the Coral Reefer Band helping her bring the country funk home, this is must hearing for everyone that thinks everything coming out these days is a few steps below Velveeta. And there's none of the cut corners feel that pervades too much indie recording. If you can't hear how bad ass this set is, it's time to get your ears checked.

TOO SLIM & the Taildraggers/Blue Heart: He might be a hard charging, guitar slinging blues rocker, but he paid attention to the lyrical skills of the greats and learned his lessons well. With sharper lyrics that you would normally expect from a boogie band, everything about this cat cuts to the chase and cuts to the quick. You can bet guitar slinging fans will come for the licks but stay for the words. A killer high water mark in a career that normally feels like a mighty river.

JOHN FOGERTY/Wrote a Song for Everyone: Until you get to the final track where Allen Toussaint jumps in on "Proud Mary", this album is kind of a ‘huh‘? A lower middle class kid with a job in the warehouse of a record company turns around and writes a big chunk of the soundtrack of a generation. He then gets screwed, blued and tattooed by everyone around him probably causing him to hate these songs. Ok, I can see him doing this record of his classics to make peace with his back pages and come to terms with his contributions, but why didn't he own the copyright on these new versions? That would be my reason to record stuff from 45 years ago if I was still around to do it. The verdict? There would have to be something wrong with you to give Fogerty a hard time for re-recording his classics doing duets with whoever he felt like (putting Miranda Lambert and Tom Morello together on the same track?) but I'd still rather see him pull off another "Centerfield". You know he can. He's still running with the heart of a kid. C'mon Vanguard, tell me there's more to this than having him be Levon Helm's pinch hitter. PS: that opening track with the Foo Fighters? He was wearing flannel shirts 45 years ago.

ROBIN BESSIER/Other Side of Forever: I haven't thought about the percolating, stand alone jazz scene that was vibrant in Olympia, WA over 20 years ago, but this set shows that it doesn't need any help from Seattle even all these many years later. With a bunch of stellar North West jazz cats in tow, this crystal voiced mom who's finally jumped off the mommy track can really light up the night for jazz vocal fans. With everybody on board having all their oars in the water pulling in the same direction, this is a set that entertains. Solid listening that never gets heavy, everything here is on the money making it a righteous set to kick back with. Summer jazz that's not in the smooth jazz pocket, this warm and wild set might just help keep it summer all year long. Well done.

Volume 37/Number 219
June 8, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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