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DAVE KEYES/Right Here Right Now: An award winner who qualifies as one of those heaviest cats you never heard of, Keyes delivers that kind of keyboard driven, rollicking sound that takes you back to the time when being called a killer bar band was a high compliment. High octane roadhouse/juke joint stuff that keeps rocking while making good use of white boy blues, this set is the must have ingredient for a killer party. This boy knows how to boogie and there's some great lessons to share on this disc. Check it out.

YOLANDA KONDONASSIS/Ravel-Intimate Masterpieces: Harpist Kondonassis wanted to stretch beyond the same old same old and the routine accolades so she used her position as a faculty at Oberlin Conservatory to round up some valued alumni and access the nascent in house label to make good on some musical promises she made to herself back when the earth was cooling. There might only be a handful of other players on board, but they sound like a full orchestra digging deep into the nuances of Ravel's intricate pieces making them feel like they've never been mined like this before. A sensational record for both the classical newbie and the moldy fig, you really can't help but sit in your chair and conduct this record. Killer stuff that just doesn't miss a beat.

THE 5 BROWNS/Rite of Spring: I've said it time and again, the magic of the Browns is that they aren't doing anything new, but what they are doing, they are doing real pretty. Said it time and again in record and concert reviews. The shiny, new Julliard grads have been replaced by road and life tested warriors and they leave Bernstein for Stravinsky. Jumping into the deep end of avant garde, what do they do? They make it sound real pretty. Undeniably masters of their instruments and their art, they could play lines of code (how's that for an update on the old ‘play the phone book' cliché?) and make it sound real pretty. It's a great diversion to hear them leap from Spring to some Planets to a Danse Macabre as they explore the realms of classical Goth lite. The cover shot makes it pretty clear a new dawn is breaking on the Brown horizon and it's probably going to a be wild ride watching them continuing to dive headlong into further adulthood. This is different for them and it's a winner throughout.

CANADIAN BRASS/Christmas Time is Here: The fact that the Brass can think of Vince Guaraldi and Duke Ellington in the same thought makes me think about how much I miss their annual outdoor concerts on the shores of Lake Mann. Well, maybe it's tangential Ellington. Duke's man, Luther Henderson, has written scores of scores for the Brass and his holiday ones are remembered here. A new holiday classic that feels like home for a fractured, mobile society, this is the Brass at their 43 year best. An annual listen that's destined to become a perennial, they amaze and confound doing their thing once again as only true masters can do. Check it out.

TOMMY EMMANUEL cgp/Live and Solo in Pensacola, Florida: I don't think I've heard a solo guitar record this exciting since the first time I heard Leo Kottke. With five decades of performing and universal acclaim under his belt, Emmanuel is one of the few players you don't make fun of for making guitar player face. He's really into the music and it's sincere. A cd-dvd combo package, you can't overlook when players like this this give you a you-are-there experience. Killer stuff from a world class fingerpicker that could phone it in from his sleep but just isn't capable of doing so. An acoustic guitar must have session.

Volume 37/Number 364
October 30, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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