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DEB RYDER/Might Just Get Lucky: Don't let looks deceive you. On the cover shot, Ryder looks like an elder caregiver spiffed up for a long over due night out. Wrong-o! She might not look like a rollicking blues mama that can front a band that won't give her any slack, but they each do a great job of pushing the other to higher heights. On top of that, she wrote all the tracks and directed the proceedings form the producer's chair. Must be the original Chicago roots? Ryder fearlessly tears it up serving up the kind of set others could learn from. A non-stop juke joint all night party that even guitar great Albert Lee showed up to drop his licks on, this is wonderful throwback to when rollicking blues could keep you up all night and you wouldn't care. Killer stuff that's top shelf all the way from a belter that's loudly and proudly the real deal. Check it out.

CAROLYN LEE JONES/The Performer: After a lay off of five years, the corporate drop out continues to get back to her heartland musical roots. Hell, she was from Nebraska and Anita O'Day was from Chicago, so that's just as heartland as Bob Seger. Really working the sultry thrush tip like a pro, Jones knows the moves a proper, classic jazz vocalist should make. A cabaret/club kind of session that packs a full on wallop, Jones delivers the goods that ears hungry for sophisticated jazz vocal will devour. Hot stuff.

DAN BUBIEN/Empty Roads: Dobro in white boy blues from western Pennsylvania? They seem to like it. A favorite son from the region, he's tossing his hat into the ring for some breakout to conquer new horizons. Having been fed 60s/early 70s white boy blues records for breakfast, he's digested the sound and fury quite nicely making you feel like you are back in college (if you were back then) and were just learning how to boogie all night. Certainly in the pocket for those who miss the good old days or miss that they weren't there the first time around.

GREG LEWIS/Organ Monk-American Standard: We're always up for a good Monk tribute and this is a good Monk tribute. The third outing for this Monk organ tribute band, this time around the lens is turned on Monk's take on Tin Pan Alley. In Monk's hands it sounded like Broadway from Mars in the first place. Lewis and his pals aren't here so much as to ape Monk as they are to expand upon Monk. While the results are obviously subjective, it feels like the subject, Monk, is smiling down upon these endeavors. A must for people that like high octane swing from left field, this is the gasser you need for when you really want to get the blood flowing. Lewis and company well know how to use the existing road map to chart credible new routes. Hot stuff.

MARK LETTIERI/Future Fun: You can pick out a lot of influences on this guitar man's second jazz rocker but what it all comes down to is someone getting his Zappa on. Playing from the heart, this isn't rip off, tribute or homage, it's just a cat that wants to shut up and play his guitar before it wants to kill your momma.

DEWA BUDJANA/Joged Kahyangan: Remember that wonderful pocket of time when fusion hadn't become fuzak and smooth jazz hadn't become bizjazz? Guitarist Budjana apparently remembers it and rounded up Larry Goldings, Bob Mintzer, Jimmy Johnson, Peter Erskine and Janis Siegel to help you remember it. Taking about a feisty indie label picking up the gauntlet, slapping a few faces and running with it! With the combined belief of the label and the artist at the wheel, the dividends that flow form this session are returned by the steam shovelful. A glorious return to when music was about music rather than fashion, this is real, heartfelt and well played as it gets. A great find for any jazzbo, especially with contemporary ears, promises are delivered on and this is a four on the floor killer throughout. Well done, without a doubt.

RICH ROSENTHAL/Falling Up: A modern version of ‘The Jazz Singer'? A Jewish kid raised by depression era parents gets turned on to progressive jazz to the dismay of everyone around him. He hit's the skids and repairs trains at night before emerging on the other side as a progressive jazzbo guitar man that has an intuitive feel for angular, church basement jazz that he plays like to the manner born. Wild stuff, wild story. If a trip through this set doesn't get you jonesing for some espresso, foreign ciggys and black clothes, you have a heart of stone.

SLY5THAVE/Akuma: A sax man equally adept at providing skronk for Prince (where have you gone Candy Dulfer?) as he is at celebrating his Nigerian heritage, this almost takes you where pre-fusion Miles would have taken you if he was honking on sax. A very creative date that doesn't fall into the trap of wearing it's creativity like a badge, this isn't exactly a trip to the church basement as it is a trip to the hipster club where the audience is actually musos rather than fashionistas. Thought provoking jazz that makes you feel good, there's enough new in the old here to keep your ears engaged throughout. Well done.

Volume 38/Number 9
November 9, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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