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FRANCISCO MORA CATLETT/AfroHorn Rare Metal: This former disciple of Sun Ra shows the needs for arts councils, their money and the need for some kind of oversight to make sure their money gets in the hands of cats like Catlett that do the kind of righteous kind of exploration that deserves subsidy. Showing where Miles sound probably would have gone if he didn't start covering Cyndi Lauper when he made his comeback, Catlett might be a drummer but he knows how t give everyone else some. Legit enough that this is going to be an integral part of the Detroit Jazz Festival on September 1, progressive tastes are going to get what they came for here. Free jazz that was genesist in Sun Ra's living room, this is very much the smoking kind of New York stuff that (non-pejorative) hipsters celebrate with abandon because of it's abandon. This is the kind of set that shows what happens when you have the skills not to rely on attitude. A sweet landmark set of contemporary free/progressive jazz.

MICHELE ROSEWOMAN/New Yor-uba, 30 Years A Celebration of Cuba in America: Ouch, it's time once again to discover one of those records that so good it hurts. Sophisticated Cuban jazz that dazzles with it's unpretending, this isn't about Ricky Ricardo flourishes and gimmicks, this is about killer playing that goes down so smoothly and well interwoven that you just have to gasp for air. This double cd, stocked with playing by some of New York's finest jazzbos, qualifies as a landmark recording that will continue to tower no matter how much passes behind it. A must for Afro-Cuban jazz fans, this is a set they will not want to be without. Get on board.

JONATHAN MORITZ TRIO/Secret Tempo: Hot Cup is a trusted brand name we can look to when we want our jazz to be on the hell raising side without being something that has to be enjoyed in the church basement. Moritz's pianoless sax trio fills out Hot Cup agenda nicely and on point. Experimental improv that goes well with black clothes and foreign ciggies, you have to be brainy and angular to appreciate this set, but you don't have to be an egghead. Wild stuff from the left side of the ledger.

HANK MOWERY/Account to Me: Blues people are more interested in keeping Gary Primich's music alive than they are in paying tribute to it and there's where this album finds it's genesis. The late harmonica player was an integral part of contemporary blues. This set has his old sidemen kicking it out, several Primich tunes and some previously unrecorded Primich tunes to boot. Whether tribute, homage, remembrance or whatever, Primich left music behind that simply waits for someone to come along and put it's boots on so it can continue to kick some ass. Mowery keeps it in the pocket and you can be sure Primich is smiling, as you will be too if you're a fan of white boy blues, singing harmonica division. Well done.

LORRAINE JORDAN & CAROLINA ROAD: Some stuff just has to be right in the pocket to be right and needs nothing more. On their second outing, this crew continues to fills the grooves with driving instrumentation, smooth vocals and compelling lyrics that keep the story moving and keep you interested. Powered by an old timey, classic bluegrass vibe, this is a straight up set of back porch picking and grinning that would have been Americana long before there was Americana. This is a wonderfully tasty romp that takes you back to when the music mattered and it had to be good music first before the machine could turn it into product. Hot stuff.

FATS KAPLIN/The Fatman Cometh-World of Wonder: You've seen this multi-instrumentalist's name on so many different records for such a long time that you probably long ago stopped thinking it was the same person playing all those different things for all those different people. Wrong. With such an active career as a background MVP, he hasn't given his solo work the same focus, periodically releasing an offbeat solo project in the shadows just to keep the fingers limber. With so much pent up energy lurking beneath the surface, Kaplin unleashes the torrent here on a utterly gorgeous double cd where he gets a little outside help but carries the ball mostly on his own. You hear echoes of everything from John Fahey to Jethro Burns to John Hartford weaving in an out of here as Kaplin delivers the most glorious Americana ride down the blue highways making every note sound like a balmy, August afternoon you hope will never end. A master class of how exciting acoustic music can be, there's not a hint of dust on this---no whiffs of folklore or reminders of how this is good for you---just pure sonic enjoyment that'll blow your mind from start to finish. Well done.

COMMANDER CODY & HIS LOST PLANET AIRMEN/Hot Licks, Cold Steel & Truckers Favorites: With the late period, high octane rave ups Cody has been releasing the last few years, it's only natural this long out of print classic should finally find it's way out of Diaspora--of course courtesy of Raven. Recorded 40 years ago when Austin had no idea what to do with those long haired hippies pouring into town with their cosmic honky tonk country, this is a smoking slice of high octane Americana made well before anyone ever thought such a genre would ever be a contender. Recorded on a shoe string following up an unlikely hit debut record, Cody showed how to party at a bunch of different levels. Smoking hippie honky tonk that was a product of it's times but remains timeless as well, it's still a killer party on a platter that you need to take a byte out of. Truly groundbreaking stuff that threw lighting people are still trying to catch in a bottle. Don't miss it this time around.

BRYAN LEE/Play One For Me: Willie Henderson's been talking about making a comeback for years and this time around, hooking up with Lee for his Severn label debut, it sounds like he's got it back in the pocket. A modern masterpiece of white boy blues, Lee's voice is more soulful than ever, his guitar provides it's hottest stinging attack yet, and the backing crew made-up of Severn's house band and various T-Birds just plain delivers. Dripping with his adopted home of Nawlins, Lee pulls it together so hard here that you can feel Van Morrison and Jackie Wilson both sitting up and taking notice. A real genre busting, bar raising set of blue eyed soul, this is a stunning case of the blind shall lead them. Smoking stuff roadhouse fans must not miss.

TIM HUS/Western Star: Yow, this guy is on his third record and we're just hearing about him now? A hell raising, country/folk honky toner that kicks it right into gear from the first note, this is what country has been missing for years. While keeping an eye on contemporary realities, Hus keeps it traditional in a man of the land/one of us/regular folks kind of way. One of those sets that just feels like it's too good to be true, this is just a set of straight up, killer country where there isn't a tear in a beer in earshot because the good times just keep rolling---like the semis this should be basting out of. Be sure to check it out, Hus is someone you shouldn‘t miss and he‘s flying high here.

VENISSA SANTI/Big Stuff-Afro Cuban Holiday: A Danilo Perez discovery, Santi is back after a long wait with her latest, an Afro-Cuban tribute to Billie Holliday. It's like nothing you've ever heard. Removing the source material by time and distance, Santi need only use the Holliday connection as a marketing hook. This probably would have been just as compelling if she was singing the phone book, Santi delivers the kind of passion listeners want to hear from a jazz vocalist no matter what's she's singing. A stunning tour de force that's a mind blower throughout and creative as all get out.

Volume 37/Number 290
August 18 , 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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