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PAULA SANTORO/Mar Do Meu Mundo: A Brazilian hyphenate multi-talent tries to send it up north with this sultry set that has small group backing that feels like something new without having the apple fall too far from the tree. Certainly a sophisticated set, this is what world beat, adult listening is all about. Tasty, sexy stuff that hit's the nail right on the head.

PASSAFIRE/Vines: What could be more natural than a bunch of kids from Atlanta going to Texas to record a reggae album? With a wash of alt.everything at all stages of this recording, what you get is a hybrid pop/reggae that really works. Loaded with the kind of indie cred that easily gives it it's street stripes, this is some wildly smoking stuff that not only is fun to get flat with but opens the ears and hikes the curiosity to dig further into the reggae treasure chest. Dandy stuff for contemporary ears that wasn't some skanking riddims that sound like they came from the suburbs.

HOUSTON PERSON/Nice N Easy: An under appreciated vet sax man who has spent the better part of his career making other people look good doesn't just turn in another winning groovinsoul jazz outing here, he turns in an audition tape that shows why he should be the producer if Diana Krall returns to lite jazz. With tasty, deep in the pocket groovinsoul that's accessible to all leading the way here, Person easily dazzles all who enter here, including Ms. Krall, who would be as smart to pick up on this as she was to pick up on Clayton Hamilton. Everyone else can merely sit back and enjoy. Solid stuff throughout.

JOEY DeFRANCESCO/One for Rudy: What do you need to say about a Hammond B3 trio knocking it out of the park in an afternoon over at Rudy Van Gelder's place? Old school? You bet, all the way in the best way. Light and groovy, this is DeFrancesco taking a trip down memory lane but with him as the tour guide, liberally splashing his own special sauce over everything. Smoking stuff that's a non stop gasser.

TOM HARRELL/Colors of a Dream: Harrell tries a change of pace here by going with a two bass line up, including Esparanza Spaulding, and serving up sitting down jazz. Deep listening stuff, Harrell has varied chops so deep that that if you know which end is up, you'll at least check out his excursions just to see what surprises he has up his sleeve. Showing Herb Alpert how to take it way left of center without having it all roll off the rails, Harrell is playing way younger than his years here in fine style.

LENI STERN/Jelell: When Stern first dipped her toe in African waters, it seemed like it might be a well thought out busman's holiday. Here we are several years and albums later and it seems like she could teach the know it alls a thing or two about digging deep into African roots and letting them grow around some killer guitar work. Getting into the whole thing like she's to the manner born, Stern sheds her German roots and Berklee training to go native whether on guitar strings or vocal chords. Wild stuff that geezers who think they know world beat should sit up and reckon with.

SWING FEVER/Presents Grandmasters of Jazz: This is the kind of utterly cool jazz package that could only exist outside the lines these days. San Francisco's swing mainstays, with 35 years under their belts, hook up with three swinging all stars, Clark Terry, Terry Gibbs and Buddy DeFranco, bring in stellar vocalist Jackie Ryan, who put this out on her own label, and everyone let's the fur fly like it's an old time stage show/radio presentation. And in addition to the cd, you get 2 DVDs that give you even more of the story, with even more stories. Smoking jazz like they don't make anymore by the guys that made it the first time around, this is magnificently a collection not to be missed. Hot stuff throughout by the cats that know a thing or two about turning up the heat.

BILL O'CONNELL/The Latin Jazz All Stars/Zocalo: The Latin jazz piano ace with the Irish name steps out from behind the salsa curtain again with a set that keeps it caliente but is loaded with uptown moves as well. Hitting a bunch of standards in his own fashion, O'Connell and experienced crew know how to deliver a straight ahead rave up. Smoking stuff from a purely singular voice, this is sure to get the blood flowing as it drives solidly on it's merry way. Well done.

Volume 37/Number 355
October 22, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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