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BOB DEVOS/Shadow Box: DeVos is a killer jazz guitarist with so much soul that he isn't afraid to lead an organ trio and give the B3 plenty of room. Swinging, bopping and hard charging throughout, DeVos shows up ready to play and blow you away. A sumptuously killer of a date where the cooking is always with the gas on high. A winner throughout.

NNENNA FREELON & John Brown Big Band/Christmas: Yep, nobody with a track record can get their label to step up anymore and they have to take things in their own hands, no matter who they are. With too many Grammy nominations under her belt, Freelon still had to get her holiday jollies on her own, and so she has. Produced on her own, Freelon takes the holiday classics and gives them a super sized shot of nu jazz and soul turning them on their collective heads and giving the holidays their biggest dose of swing since Nelson Riddle really needed the money. This is a cooking holiday treat with collective jazz roots so deep you really have to wonder how the labels missed the boat on this instant classic. Killer holiday jams throughout, this is a first class gasser for the holidays from a swinging singer that knows her stuff and loves the holidays.

THE REBEL SET/How to Make a Monster: Dick Dale meets some punks and gets amazed by how they shred. This is what the kids would be into if they weren't dazing around EDM festivals and really wanted to let those teenage hormones fly on nothing but sheer adrenaline and teen spirit. This sounds like the nu Ramones throughout.

COSMO FREQUENCY/Soundtrack to Life: Wanting to do something new, this duo goes the mash up route bringing hippie dippy new age in line with Aedmius, some prog rock, some Mannheim Steamroller and some world beat from places you can't quite put your finger's ear on. New age for the nu ager whose au currant ears were primed with other priming agents than roundabout seekers of the past, there's some wild, wonderful stuff going on here that's fun to listen to as you let your ears color outside the lines. Nicely done.

BRIAN LYNCH/Unsung Heroes Vol. 2: When Lynch kicked off this series, the controversy that ensued assured that people would know what's going on here. A trumpet player that has to take a back seat to no one, Lynch set about giving props to the trumpet players that helped define a sound that were solid players but weren't part of the Mt. Rushmore of jazz and were 2 good 2 b forgotten as decided by Lynch. Volume two continues the killer daddio vibe with swinging, groovy stuff that tips the hat to people worthy of wider exploration---and Lynch includes himself seamlessly into this bunch. A delightful blowing date that any mainstream jazzbo should merrily appreciate, this is the stuff from the true vine and it's taste is impeccable.

STEVE WEINSTEIN/Last Free Man: So, you misspend your youth playing CBGBs. Then you become a top flight science guy that knows all about worm holes, flux capacitors and time and space. What do you? Become the best sounding post- Newport Dylan since the real thing hit. It's freaky and freaking uncanny. This is a must for anyone that used to care before things changed to check out.

TOMMY CECIL-BILL MAYS/Side by Side Sondheim Duos: The DC area bass ace with 40 years of jazz under his belt is a prime proponent of the less is more school. Having honed his craft in service of the top shelf of jazz, here he lays it all bare, jamming on a raft of Sondheim classics with only also well traveled piano man, Bill Mays, in tow. With no where to hide, he has nothing to hide and the duo just plain nails it. While it would be so easy to let this project on this level lapse into cocktail jazz, they never do, making this much more than something you pick up on the way out of the hotel bar where you just had a nice evening. Something's coming indeed. Hot stuff savvy eared adults will love.

TOMMY CECIL-BILL MAYS/Our Time Sondheim Duos V. 2: It's a good thing Cecil doesn't think you can get too much of a good thing. If he did, we wouldn't get this interesting second look over his shoulder at what he and piano man Mays can do. Overlooking a ton of the stuff a Sondheim tourist would look for as they dig deep on this collection, the duo does a great job of opening the ears to a lot of overlooked material not all that well know outside the realm (of course, there are a few ringers to grab the casual onlooker's eye). Another winning collection throughout.

Volume 38/Number 5
November 5, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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