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TIERNEY SUTTON/After Blue: In which we find Sutton leaving the comfort zone of her long time band and the great American song book (but not abandoning long time producer Elaine Martone) and turning her attention to the Joni Mitchell canon. Oddly, not inspired by "Court & Spark" but by Mitchell's 2000 covers album that was pretty much universally hated, Sutton finds the diamond in the rough, enlists cats like Larry Goldings. Hubert Laws, Turtle Island Quartet, Peter Erskine and others that get it and delivers a really interesting set of goods. A Mitchell tribute is a lot trickier to pull off in real life than it looks on paper but Sutton must have had this percolating in her blood before she even realized it. Quite the mighty bag breaker, long time fans of Sutton and the vibe she was providing should not be scared away from this change up, it's the best Joni Mitchell album in years.

CAROL MORGAN/Retroactive: With her solo and group work, trumpeter Morgan has built up such a distinctive resume that it's almost hard to imagine her taking it to the next level of the game here, but that's exactly what she does. Fitting right into a New York, jazzbo groove, she still manages to put a distinctive stamp on it so you know who you are listening to rather than guess at which one of the able bodied players roaming the streets this might be. Delightfully smoky after hours playing, Morgan has surrounded herself with a bunch of game raising cats that are each pulling something from the others on board. (Did I mention Mike Stern?) Real stuff for the real jazzbo that likes contemporary stuff with a left leaning edge. Well done.

DAVID SILLS/Blue's the New Green: If Sills' smoky, crime jazz take on "I'm a Fool to Want You" was the only highlight here, that alone would make this set worth picking up. But it isn't. The whole album is nothing but highlights. A killer sax player that has easily earned favorable comparisons to all the real Mt. Rushmore faces of jazz sax, his originals are so in the pocket that no matter which way his wind is blowing, you can't help but get swept along with it all. Aided by a bunch of well traveled cats that are all leaders in their own right, this set is a must for anyone who really grooves on killer playing by a cat that makes it look way too easy. Hot stuff.

IZZY CHAIT/Everything is Different Now: The retired art dealer continues to chase his passion of singing with an uplifting album that finds Curtis Mayfield rubbing elbows with John Lennon in the song stack. In an anthemic presentation, this is more Sinatra than Phil Ochs if you can imagine Sinatra doing a spiritually based album. Certainly riding to the left side of the margins, the album has mainstream ambitions but finds it just can't contain itself to being neatly pigeon holed.

REDMOND LANGOSCH COOLEY/Compared to What: A shining example of a big fish in a small pond, Redmond is a DC area treasure that has cleaned up so many awards it wouldn't surprise if she had to rent a storage locker to hold them all. A white girl that knows how to pour on the soul, her sidekicks here know how to support the effort in fine style mixing jazz and soul in just the right measures. With two original exceptions, the whole program is covers. The covers comes from such a diverse set of composers and times that it's hard to call this an oldies collection with any kind of veracity. Let's just say this set opens up with Johnny Mercer bumping into Leonard Cohen bumping into the title track---and it all works. This is a great chance for anyone outside the DC area to add some soulful, hipness stripes to their sleeve. Hot stuff.

SERGIO GALVAO/Phantom Fish: Time for Latin jazz fans to expand their horizons as this 48 year old Brazilian sax man is making his solo debut. Born into a musical household, it's fair to say Galvao has the sound and fury on his DNA. A smoking session throughout, the music retains it's ethnicity even as it ventures out into other quadrants of the Latin jazz community, often accented with Nyorican jazz. Not exactly a world beat date, this is more the jazz as a universal language date with a hearty enough vibe running through it to carry any load. Hot stuff that just never quits.

SULTANS OF STRING/Symphony: So, image Bond was four guys instead of four young, hotties that merrily did what the producer told them. Then add a few well deserved Junos to the mix. Then let them keep reinvesting in their sound, production, presentation and chops. Not that we didn't love Bond, but this is the real deal for real musos. Taking their world roots vision and adding members of the Toronto Symphony for a new fusion of roots (taken very loosely and on a world wide basis) and classical, you better believe the results are mind blowing. Even though the instrumentation is different, you get the feeling this is Strunz & Farah or Willie & Lobo or Gypsy Kings taken to the next level of the game, sometimes all at once. Meaty, juicy, full blooded adult listening, any fan of world beat or contemporary instrumental music is sure to absolutely flip for this gem. Hot stuff throughout and a sure bet to notch another Juno and any other award winning hardware to come it's way. Check it out.

REYNOLD D. PHILIPSEK/Simplicity: After forging a career as a gypsy guitarist, Philipsek thought he would take a little break but the break turned into an excursion into other guitar/vocal styles he'd hadn't pursued. His sense of humor is evident before you even get to the music as the cd cover has touches of old Columbia and Blue Note styles on it. How is he as a singer/songwriter? After a whole anti-pop career, you can expect the sensibilities to extend to new conquests. Almost with an underground vibe, his apples don't fall far from his tree. Adding tango elements to his pop, it's a change up that adult ears that ran on the joy of discovery in the past will respond to. And long time fans don't have to worry too much, his hallmark guitar work is still heavily in evidence.

REBECA VALLEJO/Azucar Canela: She came from Spain, got her education in Wales and moved to New York to soak up jazz in all it's forms but never really appreciated her native flamenco until she fell under it's spell at the behest of her Greek bass player. Instead of comparing her world beat to gumbo, she compares it to her own mix of sangria where she controls the ingredients, sticking to the basics but adding the colors and flavors as warranted. Loving Brazilian music as well as jazz, you wouldn't know she's helped along on her way by Spanish arts councils. A worldly jazz outing as opposed to a world jazz outing, you don't have to know what she's singing about to enjoy the flavors and passion soaked deeply into the grooves. Sizzling stuff that brings the caliente in fine style throughout.

Volume 37/Number 317
September 14 , 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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