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LAZER LLOYD/Lost on the Highway: Wild acoustic blues from Israel by a cat that's either an old hippie or a rabbi, I'm not sure which. Absorbing the whole Koerner, Ray & Glover experience on his own and showing off what he's learned, this is a white boy that's not just in it for the grins. A hard working cat that knows what it is to travel the back 40, this solo live set really sneaks up on you and catches you off guard and by surprise. For the aging college kid that's never outgrown the roadhouse at the edge of town, this is a wonderful bolt of the blues. It might fly under the radar but it's really high flying stuff. Check it out.

PAUL ABELLA TRIO + 1/A Change in Plans: The music director of Chicago's beloved jazz radio station is so into his work that when he's not playing records, he's playing jazz--and making records. On a mission to make jazz fun, he and his pals grew up in mixmaster times when the lines between genres were blurred and that ‘fusion' comes naturally to them. Whether jazzing up silly pop or digging in their own crates, this certainly fills the mandate to make fun jazz. Without an overriding agenda, like being summer jazz or something, the walls are broken down and anyone that just wants to tap their toe or absent mindedly bob their head will have a good time with this, particularly when the traffic is moving slowly. Check it out.

AUTUMN IN AUGUSTA/Songs My Mama Would Like: One of the many that labor in the background in Chicago steps out on her own with a group identity that she doesn't hide behind too well. A heartfelt ep from Lucy Smith calling attention to the music her mother turned her on to that started her out on this highway, it's a passionate set whose feeling leaps out of the bytes at you. Mostly familiar stuff with some curve balls along the way, it's too bad the budget wasn't there to make this longer as it's clear the passion was. Lend an ear.

GO ORGANIC ORCHESTRA/Sonic Mandela: So, what if Martin Denny, Bernie Krause and Steve Reich got together to discuss pitching a project to Nonesuch? The label would probably tell them to come back when they got their Kickstarter funding together. Adam Rudolph didn't have to stick around for such insults. The drummer, obviously used to taking matters into his own hands (get it?), created his own big ensemble, added touches of minimalism and world beat, added water and stirred. The result? Utterly wild head trip music that could be sold in a gift pack with zebra stripped sheets, incense and pino grigio, if you know what I mean... Wild stuff sure to be appreciated by the musically fearless music fan.

MIGRANT KIDS: Three Midwestern transplants wind up together in Austin and toss their rust belt roots into the ring to deliver psychrock rather than anything you would expect from landing in Austin. With a sound where prog meets psych somewhere in the 70s, these kids make a whole lot more racket than you would expect from a three piece. And this ain't no sunshine pop outing either, this is the deep stuff.

GREGORY JAMES/Cult of Beauty: The veteran jazzbo is back with only his 11th album in 30 years and it's a doozy. Harkening back to the jazz/rock/funk mix before it was known as fusion, James and some equally skilled, like minded pals mix it up for the kind of date that does take you back to the day, but it does so with no dust on it. Tasty, engaging and high octane throughout, this is a real cooker that'll wake up jazz ears that got their first wake up call during the 70s. Hot stuff that you can't ignore from a guitar man that's been everywhere but doesn't act like he knows it all. A winner.

Volume 37/Number 265
July 24 , 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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