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HAND SAND HANDS/Lord of Talk: A little bleeding edge electronica, anyone? Based in Athens, GA after escaping from Minnesota, this sample meister has made the rounds of the upper echelon of the underground for the past little while and now turns his attention to a full length outing of 90's style headache music brought forward to today. Kids looking to define themselves not buying into the Miley Cyrus hype will know this is the stuff to really piss off their parents, if their parents weren't into Massive Attack back in the day. Hard, heavy and totally fresh.

PROJECT THEM: In which we find a super group made up of background and side cats who's efforts and contributions can't be denied. Playing without restrictions from record companies or dictates from their employers, this bunch shows just how much they add to a session and know how to keep it on track. The freedom afforded here could have easily seen this roll off the rails in self indulgent bologna, but they keep it in the pocket even when they push the envelop. Hopefully this sextet will stay together for longer than how ever long the recession lasts letting them do this because they have/want to, not because they need to. A winner throughout.

ANTHONY STRONG/Stepping Out: In which we find the new generation finding their own nu Sinatra. A jazz vocalist that takes the old songs, big bands them, and gave them a facelift that's not at all objectionable. Will moldy figs like it? It's not for them, so who cares. For the new breed that wants to claim a foot in the past but doesn't want any dust on it, Strong delivers the goods in fine form. Classy but modern and never cheesy, Strong is the anti Groban all the way. Neatly and smartly in the pocket throughout, this is how to start the evening modern style.

TRACY SHEDD/Arizona: 20 years in, Shedd strips it down to a singer/songwriter essence with accent on melancholy. Reaching out to depressed college girls everywhere, Shedd assumes the role of older sister that's been there/done that/ripped the t-shirt. Reaching out to depressed college girls is like shooting fish in a barrel and Shedd has the gun on the end of her fishing line well primed here.

GEORGE COTSIRILOS TRIO/Variations: This is the kind of jazz guitar trio date that lifts you up so much that you almost feel guilty not writing some long screed nobody will read about how good they are. We won't. This trio smokes! Tasty and in the pocket throughout, all we can say is you miss this at your own risk. Hot stuff.

AARON GERMAIN/Chance: Inventive world beat jazz. Nothing so radical about that, or is there? This bass led, international quartet lives up to the elements on the hype sheet. Intertwining Weather Report with Headhunters with various world sounds, this crew does it all and does it on point in a creative and fascinating way. Top shelf stuff for the sitting down jazz fan, it's not egghead jazz---it reaches down and strikes a variety of primal chords you might not have other wise known you had in you. Way cool throughout, this very nearly takes you to places you've only heard in dreams. Check it out.

JON HAMAR/Idyl Wild: Casting off the Geoff Keezer penumbra of his last album, this time around he replaces piano with double sax for a bass/drum/sax jazz quartet that knows how to offer up a low key hipsters delight. Not needing pyrotechnics to catch fire, this crew keeps the fire on a simmer that just doesn't burn out or boil off. Sweet stuff for real finger popping daddios that dig it from their chairs.

MARQUIS HILL/The Poet: The trumpet player opens his third set with what sounds like it's setting the stage for a trip back to the church basement. It's not, it's a trip to what ever Chicago has that passes for old time 52nd Street. It's hard and heavy blowing with bop undertones and free jazz over tones merging in a unique way that really opens the ears. This is the place for jazz that'll move you while you stay in your chair. Well done.

Volume 37/Number 345
October 12, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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