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THOMAS RUCKERT TRIO/Meera: As artful in their use of white space as they are when kicking it out, sometimes this piano trio is so minimalist that it seems like they aren't even there and you have to adjust your levels to get rid of what seems like white noise---but isn‘t. In addition to the originals, they know what to do with everything from Denny Zeitlin to Lerner & Loewe. It's a different kind of wild ride and an art jazz fan must.

CHRISTY DORAN'S NEW BAG/Mesmerized: Swiss jazzbos that were part of the original ECM strike force back when the earth was cooling show there's no dust on them as they take jazz into the future drawing on everything welcome but off beat from the past and turning it on it's head for the future. Build around Switzerland's leading jazz, art chick, this new ensemble for Doran is dedicated to making music without walls or category. If you find your tastes falling closer to Flora Purim than Annette Peacock, this might be the wild new taste treat you are looking for---as long as you don't expect it to taste Brazilian. But you might notice some Indian in the mix.

DOMBERT'S URBAN JAZZ/"16/8": Remember Dieter from Saturday Night Live 20 years ago? If we were to run into him today, this would be the kind of guitar driven jazz he would be listening to today as he flagellated himself for going commercial. Not commercial by any stretch, this is stuff inspired by Frank Zappa's jazz side even if it is well to the left of Leni Stern. Envelope pushing but not weird for the sake of weird, it is a new take on the kind of jazz that was an off shoot of what Miles Davis was doing in the early 70s by others who were trying to catch his lightening in a bottle. We're talking about the kind of stuff that would have done very well on it's own if it didn't have Davis to compete with, not just the me too stuff that too many were doing. This is art jazz that doesn't beg for accompanying wine and cheese.

BUCHER SOMMER FRIEDLI & AEBY/Where is Now? As a trio, this crew went as far as they felt they could go, so now they've added a keyboard man for more than just color. Impressionistic improv with occasional dada impulses, these Swiss jazzbos keep you thinking they are about to be straight ahead before turning things into a thrill ride that makes you think it might roll off the rails but their command keeps that from happening. If you like guitar led, forward looking jazz that likes to take risks, this is certainly the thrill ride you've been looking for.

LITTLE MIKE & The Tornadoes/Forgive Me: Ok, kids, let's test your blues cred. What can you tell me about this Jewish kid from Florida? Well, he's a harmonica player, He started on this bluesy road 25 years ago. His first gigs were producing the long overdue debut albums by Pinetop Perkins and Hubert Sumlin. GOTCHA! With a sound like his, that's cred enough for us. Sounding like something totally soaked in a west side Chicago whiskey barrel in the back of the Chess Brothers warehouse, this is unabashedly traditional, real deal stuff. Now, for those of you that think Buddy Guy is all you need to know about Chicago blues anymore, this serving from 1900 miles away changes everything. There's a bunch of white boys boys with wider recognition that could learn a thing to two from this set---and so could the cats writing the checks for those cats if they want to see a bigger ROI. Killer stuff.

BROTHER DEGE/How to Kill a Horse: Don't young people need an alternative to T-Bone Burnett's view of Americana? Damn right! That's why we tip the cap to Quentin Tarantino for showing us his ears haven't gotten any older in the last 20 years as he tapped Dege to bring the "Pulp Fiction" vibe to "Django Unchained". Certainly not the NPR listeners Americana, this is a wild serving of proto punk meets John Koerner meets John Hurt meets Ry Cooder after stealing drugs from Rolling Stones when they really had the good stuff. Utterly amazing stuff that could only be made by a cat with total freedom and vision worthy of that freedom. You can turn this up but you can't turn this loose. A wild ride from start to finish.

SHERRY FINZER & DARIN MAHONEY/Transformation: Just because they are old hippies that believe in touchy feely stuff is no reason for you to give this guitar/flute duo static for ditching their pasts and pursuing some new age loveliness. The kind of delicate music that walks a fine line between classical, instrumental, and new age with a soupcon of trance in the mix, this is a delightfully peaceful set that is tailor made for opening the mind and heart. Tasty stuff that could get someone two steps down from the nastiest headbanger to pay attention, this is the kind of grown up backlash stuff that got Windham Hill off the ground in the first place. Well done.

STEVEN HALPERN/Deep Theta 2.0: One of the original prime movers in ‘non-commercial' new age music, Halprin is back to improve upon his past triumphs. Mixing organic and electronic sounds to tune your brainwaves, Halprin has something here that's not touchy feely, not girl friend music but is something that can help you enjoy all that medical marijuana that's moving across the country slowly but surely. If you want to meditate or if you want to heal, the 77th album by the original genrester fills the bill with pleasant, new sounds.

Volume 37/Number 274
August 2 , 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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