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BRIAN ANDRES & the Afro-Cuban Jazz Cartel/San Francisco: The Cuban jazz from the town in the title sounds like it was played by cats that grew up sneaking into Tito Puente shows when they were under age and wanted to soak up the music as opposed to the booze and broads. High octane stuff that sounds like the real deal throughout, this kid form Ohio doesn't seem to know about geographic boundaries a whit---or care about them. Smoking throughout, this could even get music critics out of their chairs and bouncing around. Hot stuff throughout.

DAN MUSSELMAN/Devotion: Here's why you're going to hate this guy: he opens this record with a riff that sounds like what you wanted to do when you were 8 years old, didn't know what you were doing but didn't let that stop you from flailing away at the keyboards thinking you were sounding like a profound AHTEEST! He does that riff, but he knows what he's doing and it gets this chops fest off to a great start. Musically interpreting biblical passages without words, you may or may not see that depending how much you have been into the Bible. What you will see/hear is killer flights of sonics that are grounded in what the greats were doing when they rolled off the rails looking for the infinity chord. Musselman sounds like he hasn't ingested those chemicals and didn't need them to aid his search. One of the more brilliant jazz piano dates to come along in a while, this has got the oomph the hard core fan is looking to bite into in his each for real music with real flavor. Well done.

HALLEYANNA: Forget about that ‘old soul' bologna. Halleyanna might just be in her mid 20s but she's got a lot of good ol' gal, Baja Okalahoma in her soul. With a voice that sounds like it's known it's share of sawdust joints with broken beer bottles all over the floor, Jacksboro Highway seems like more than just a history lesson to her. Moving from track to track like a freight train behind schedule, this is a killer set that gives jaded ears such a jolt it's almost unbelievable. Somewhere on that country folk rock singer songwriter continuum, this album resides comfortably occupying it's own space with such surety and style that you won't be able to stop yourself from turning on all your friends to it. Killer stuff that really shine above the rest.

JUNIOR ASTRONOMERS/Dead Nostalgia: They aren't all doing the shag on the beach in North Carolina. Here's a load of emo from one of the homes of the great mortgage collapse and it sounds like this band feels their pain.

GLENN CASHMAN'S SOUTHLAND NONET/Music Without Borders: A couple of musos that are labor in the vineyard types become pals after chance meeting and after working together for a while, decide to throw an annual jazz festival. Hey, kids, let's put on a show? Hardly. This straight ahead jazz set sounds familiar but it's all original and not an ounce derivative. Just solid, killer blowing inspired in more ways than one by the bad boys who powered Kenton's wind and brass. More fun to listen to than talk about, this is killer stuff throughout that restores a lot of the luster to straight ahead that the jazz police are always more than happy to try and tarnish. A winner.

BRAINKILLER/Colourless Green Superheroes: Is it jazz rock, melodic rock, progressive jazz, all that and more? Non linear jazz for non linear people, this isn't music from the church basement, it's jazz from the mad scientist lab.

MIKE ZITO/Gone to Texas: In which we find the world of southern rock seeming to turn itself on it's head. Once upon a time, it was a badge of honor for white boys to show off how bad ass they were. Now, Zito is leading two bands and a solo career singing and slinging about how he cleaned up and is working hard. Well, at least he's healthy enough to keep guitar slinging in all these formats he's juggling. Bringing home awards in his other guises, this one is sure to turn the trick as well. At least Waylon won't be turning in his grave under this the way he probably is when sippy cup country wafts through the bone yard. Oh yeah, when you've got Delbert McClinton and Sonny Landreth dropping by, how bad can sobriety sound? Give it a spin.

EARL POOLE BALL/Pianography: If there's something about this piano man's rolling country rock that sounds and feels like he was there when something was happening it might just be because he was on the tape when a lot of great musical moments were made, particularly in the long term employ of Johnny Cash. And there's so much more to this old boy that his years behind the Man in Black. Not quite an album and not quite a documentary, this is a look back from the tor of a life that had it's share of ups, downs and in betweens but stacks up as a life well lived. A dandy slice of music history with no dust on it at all. Check out what this legend has to say on his own terms at this stage of the game because this is nothing like the busman's holiday records they used to let session cats make for a few extra bucks that weren't going to be promoted but would find enough of an audience to justify their cost.

Volume 37/Number 236
June 25, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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