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TOM KENNEDY/Just Play: While Chris McBride might be the first name that pops out of everyone's mouth when asked who's the pre-eminent jazz bass player today, Kennedy's name should come in a close second as he's every bit as good, just different. Leading a crew of all stars through a killer session that was done in a day, the tunes might be a set of chestnuts but they are infused with so much new lifeblood that they are new all over again. High octane throughout, Kennedy shows you what so many insiders already know by taking that bass to places it's been begging to see. Smoking stuff throughout that is a first class tonic for jaded jazzbo ears jonesing for a hot, new kick. Check it out.

MARK MASTERS ENSEMBLE/Everything You Did: A cat known for making tribute albums with something extra turns his ear toward Steely Dan making the record he's wanted to make for 35 years. While Steely Dan knew how to make mass market records ignoring most of the popular wisdom, freed from the commercial margins, Masters pushes the envelopes he always heard the Danster's pushing, even if only in his own head. Him and his jazzbos know what to do with the source material and they do the right thing throughout. A dandy primer for any jazzbo that never trusted Steely Dan's ‘jazz side', now they can really hear what was lurking below the surface. A killer fusion of players and material that can do no wrong, if you go into this thinking it's just another knock off, somebody ought to knock you off. Well done.

MONSTER TRUCK/Furiosity: Power chords from Canada like you haven't heard since Rush are on display here. A load of first class, loud and proud head bang, if Beavis & Butthead were still contemporary cultural icons, a video by this bunch would probably rate five ‘fires' and be sweeping the country well within one repeat cycle. Young, pent up hormones raging through the suburbs have found a glorious new soundtrack here. Check it out.

LULL WATER: The way this bunch thanks their parents so profusely in the liner notes, you have to think they are still young crew. They must have spent a long time listening to their parents CSNY albums, focusing on their heavy, jam tracks as they really sound like CSNY turning it up and kicking it out. The hippie dippy lyrics aren't there but something close to the harmonies are, along with the thundering, crunchy guitars. Wild stuff with an undeniable energy that really pulls you in. A solid treat for now and a good bet for the future.

TOM DEMPSEY/Saucy: Sometimes, do you really need any more reason to listen to a record other than it's fun and it sounds good? Clean picking guitarist leads a trio date through a nice set of originals and covers that sounds like it was genetically engineered to play while driving along an uncrowded waterfront with the top down. Plain and simple, it's upbeat and charming, not at all a chore to listen to and a bouquet of non-stop good vibes. Properly seasoned with some tasty B3 playing, this is the kind of set that can entice nascent and reticent potential jazzbos into the tent. Well done throughout.

POPA CHUBBY/Universal Breakdown Blues: The front and back cover of Chubby's latest seem to say that you don't have to be a rapper to get foxy, black chicks if you are a hefty, white, guitar slinger. Sounding like ZZ Top jamming at a west side Chicago blues bar after finishing a show at United Center, Chubby's mostly original program shows that he's been doing this white boy, electric blues so well for so long that he could do it in his sleep, but he loves his audience too much to sound like this is phoned in. Whether tearing it up on his own stuff or taking "Over the Rainbow" to places you never heard before, this is a set tailor made for people that want to cut loose with abandon, not caring about fad or fashion as they seek out the ultimate groove. Not only high octane throughout but a textbook example of how it should be done. Killer stuff.

WALTER TROUT/Luther's Blues: Trout only shared the stage once with Luther Allison but the hard working blues man's vibe was infectious and it gave the young bluesman fighting his way up simpatico with the hard working vet that spent a lifetime never giving up. It took almost 20 years after Allison's death to bring fruition to Trout's desire to do an Allison tribute album, but here it is and electric blues fan sought to perk up their ears to take notice. With a heaping helping of mostly Allison penned tracks leading the way, Trout let's his passion lead the way. A hefty treat for blues rock, guitar slinging fans, this is a fine example of a tribute what am. Hot stuff throughout.

SARAH MILES/One: A former tyro that tried playing by the rules took a three year detour that led her from New York to Austin and found her finding her inner voice unleashing a folk/rock-angst fusion that could easily be the sound of dorm hallways throughout the land as former teens and tweens put away childish things and start staring down the tunnel that leads to womanhood. As personal sounding as Joni Mitchell was when she was the soundtrack of dorm hallways, Miles can look over her shoulder and consider Alanis Morrisette an oldies act putting her sound in proper perspective for the curious. Any 20 year old that thinks she has trouble with guys will easily relate.

Volume 37/Number 264
July 23 , 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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