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GHOST TRAIN ORCHESTRA/Book of Rhapsodies: Their debut record a few years ago was no fluke. It might take a while for new sets to roll out for this crew but that must be because they are taking the time to do it right.. Taking some 30's sounds to Leonard Cohen's 80s opium den, this is wild jazz from another dimension. The playing is impeccable and the interpretations and imaginings are a sonic delight to behold. Wild stuff for left leaning tastes that don't like to color outside the lines for the sheer joy of making a mess, this is for serious ears looking for something completely different. Wild stuff that'll be sure to charm you almost no matter what your taste is. Check it out.

BRAZILIAN SUMMER/various: A nice execution of a reliable concept, contemporary updating of classics by contemporary artists. With the new crop of Brazilian players, many of which you probably haven't heard of yet if you aren't Scott Adams, doing a bunch of songs you are probably familiar with, this easy going swath of cruising through the tropics is a winner throughout. With the kind of sound that should keep summer alive in your mind throughout the year, this is sunny, bouncy stuff by a passel of Brazilian stars of tomorrow that are shining nicely right now.

CLANNAD/Nadur: The original line up of Clannad continues to roll forward as a unit once again in fine form. Teaching the new kids a thing or two about how to fuse, Celtic, new age and an almost dubby, spooky sound as they celebrate nature, this is what happens when young originators grow up and find their footing in the new times. Killer adult listening that you don't have to be a grown up to enjoy, the originals are keeping fiercely original and fresh. Hot stuff throughout.

SKETCHES/Volume One: This bunch of downtown jazzbo darlings have brought a new concept to improvising--they figured out how to do it in reverse. Each member of the crew is required to bring some song fragments they have been working on to band rehearsals where other band members take the fragment and add more to it until it becomes a song. With the New York jazzbo vibe very much in evidence, these players have taken the rock head arrangement concept and brought it to ensemble jazz successfully. It's sitting down jazz throughout, but it's thoughtful and thought provoking. Nice stuff that knows how to set the stage well while being fun to hear. Well done.

BRAD WILSON/Hands on the Wheel: This shredder stands on the corner where heavy metal meets white boy blues with an eye cocked toward anthemic AOR like when bands like Foghat ruled the earth. More energetic than someone taking a slow ride, Wilson has the chops to make TV and film work his day job leaving his nights free to kick it out with high octane in the tanks. Hard and heavy stuff just right for suburbanites that think guys like Gregg Allman can really jam but are just a little bit too scary. Check it out.

LOU REID & CAROLINA/20th Anniversary Concert: Paying a load of dues before he kicked off this aggregation, Reid and company are traditionalists to the core that know how to kick up their heels and get you to do the same. Energized by playing this show at a venerable night spot for an appreciative crowd, the fire is turned up high and the good times are rolling. A real delight for any bluegrass fan that likes their stars and award winners to keep it up close and personal. A real winner throughout.

NON STOP/Tropical Reflections: A couple of cats in their 60s that have been at it on and off for years come in with their latest, celebrating the tropics. They don't come at it from a world beat perspective, they come at it from a frosted drink glass perspective. A few steps above gift shop music, a few steps away from world beat, this is the music the Corona commercials would have if they were selling some other alcoholic drink than beer. Jazzy, breezy and solid enough to make you think about packing your bags right now and heading off to that tropical paradise your mind's eye envisions. Nicely done.

UWE GRONAU/Flight 14: Because everyone tells Gronau his music sounds like flying, he felt compelled to do a set that he felt feels like flying. The instrumental, compositional whiz is certainly at it again with a set offers a lot in the way of music that feels like transportation while other of the tracks just transport you. Often impressionistic, this set is loaded with the kind of stuff the people who like their piano music on the inspirational side will enjoy. Well done.

Volume 37/Number 333
September 30, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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