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STEVE GADD BAND/Gadditude: Gadd has been having the kind of recording fun a well traveled vet that's done it all can have when there's nothing left to prove but he still enjoys playing. Showing the side of himself here that was his days as James Taylor's time keeper, the drummer rounds up his pals from Taylor's band and they move it away from country roads to stir things up on some Jarrett, Dollar Brand, band generated tunes and jams and even a nod to contemporary rock, all done jazzy style. Showing off just how much they were listening to Miles Davis fusion period on the Taylor tour bus, this is must hear, dim lights in the man cave music. Killer stuff from cats that have proven over and over they can pretty much do no wrong. Check it out.

GUY CLARK/My Favorite Picture of You: Like ‘Ol No. 1', ‘South Coast of Texas' and ‘Dublin Blues', this isn't just another killer Clark album, it's his fourth master class in songwriting. While ‘Old Friends' was his meditation on turning 50, this set is his reflection in turning 70, losing your wife to cancer and surviving your own cancer. There ain't too much you can tell a west Texas cat who's been through all that. The now expected Van Zandt song has been replaced with one by Lyle Lovett; Clark and Crowell show them boys can still tear it up together and Shawn Camp proves himself to be a mightier talent than Warner Nashville thought he was when they refused to release his finished albums for them 20 years ago. Aspiring songwriters, this is an experience you could never afford; fans of great songwriting full of sharply drawn characters and situations, this is a necessity you can afford. Stuff like this makes you glad you can't wear out cds like you could vinyl. Simply great.

KEVIN KASTNING-CARL CLEMENTS/Nowhere, Now Here: If you thought Toulouse Englehardt was playing guitar from Mars, Kastning is playing guitar from the next galaxy. Never covering the same recording ground twice, Kastning hooks up again with duet partner, sax/flute player Clements for a set of duo/chamber jazz from the future that should probably have been released on a label with a name like ‘ECM Squared'. Deceptively simple stuff that will somehow turn your head to Silly Putty as it finds the vortex of jazz/new age/world/25th Century, Kastning is the new Charlie Christian--but of the distant future. If you're an acoustic guitar fan and you aren't hip to him yet, take your Smartphone or tablet to the bathroom the next time you think you'll be in there long enough to get some real reading done and run his name through our search box. Get on board, he's a once in a generation talent.

FIONA JOY HAWKINS/600 Years in a Moment: In which we once again find Will Ackerman getting itchy to get out and produce some killer adult music that speaks to adults as this is the second new production that we've seen from him in a week, with the same former Windham Hill all stars and friends on board to lend a hand. A new age/Celtic piano player that could take all those bored, ambitious housewives playing piano on Friday night at Barnes & Noble to school, this is the real stuff. While the brand names involved might tip you off about what to expect, they don't telegraph exactly what to expect and therein lies the sonic joys. Outdoing her previous releases for really being on the money, records like this could spear head a real, mass market new age revival. A winner throughout.

GINO MATTEO/Sweet Revival: There's always room for another badass, blues rock guitar slinger and this bad boy is here with a message that doesn't hit you over the head about crashing and coming back from it. Taking it to church without losing his rocker core, Matteo gives his view on the wonder of it all. He doesn't care what highway you travel but he's got a few things here worth hearing as things seem to keep spinning out of control all around us. A hard worker on the international blues circuits, you can tell he's put in his time by what an accomplished recording this is that uses itself as it's own plumb line. Winning stuff from another quadrant that gets you thinking.

ANDREW RANGELL/A Folk Song Runs Through It: Oh, we can only hope the hedge fund that recently bought Steinway doesn't derail their fine recording program, especially since it's such a great way to keep the piano wares in the public eye as attention spans grow shorter each day. Steinway artist Rangell goes solo here stirring up quite the sonic storm on works of Bartok, Janacek and Kodaly playing them with a full blooded passion that makes the great solo recitals so great. A great entry for classical music tourists that want to come into the tent without feeling overwhelmed, this set doesn't pander or dumb it down giving vets and newbies a place they can mingle comfortably. Wonderful stuff that'll add to your sophistication cache with little to no effort.

CHERYL BENTYNE & MARK WINKLER/West Coast Cool: Anybody still remember and enjoy Jackie & Roy? Sure, they got started in Chicago and Milwaukee, but once they got a taste of LA and Vegas, the cold weather was in the rear view mirror. Cheryl & Mark pick it up right where Jackie & Roy left off. If you Googled the credits of the two marquee cats, and then Googled the credits of all the killer players weaving in and out of this set, you'd crash your hard drive. With about a million years worth of combined, well honed chops on board, this set can blow away the hippest thing you could find in the Bethlehem catalog, and it covers a lot of the same songs just to keep things a fair competition. This is an utterly fantastic jazz vocal date that raises the bar so high, critics will be comparing dates 50 years from now to this one. Killer stuff.

VANISHING WAVES: Whoa. Move over ‘Eraserhead', ‘Blade Runner', and ‘Gattica', here comes some erotic sci-fi that'll warp your brain if it doesn't melt it first. Surreal and sexy, this pic has loads of Euro sensibility that knows how to find weird, futuristic stuff with ease. A multi award winner that seems to sweep up all the accolades where ever it goes, the lab inspired, super charged cyber sex that propels this story is sure to hook anyone that loves cult films you can enjoy with others. Also included in this package is the debut pic from the same director that showed she was actually off to the races right out of the box. Wild stuff that'll show good, solid legs and keep running.

FERNANDO DiLEO-ITALIAN CRIME COLLECTION V. 2: Since the American film companies have pretty much emptied their vaults, it's time to pull back the curtain and expose where cats like Quentin Tarantino and John Woo got their inspiration from. DiLeo, the Italian master of mafia mayhem, gets three more of his pics out onto DVD leading off this set with the lost classic, "Shoot First, Die Later", which is just now surfacing on dvd. Packaged with ‘Kidnap Syndicate' and ‘Naked Violence', this guy could take Scorsese in his prime to school. Gritty as all hell, this is just the beginning of how things would look if more movies were made of Jim Thompson books. You want some crime cinema? Here's a 6 hour serving of it loaded with the classic Euro life is cheap vibe that could satisfy Joe Bob Briggs need for blowing up and chop socky when he was still circulating his newsletter on paper. Blistering stuff that'll be sure to scorch your eyeballs and hot as a pistol throughout..

Volume 37/Number 254
July 13 , 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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