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JOACHIM KUHN TRIO/Voodoo Sense: As he's pushing 70, pianist Kuhn wants everyone to know he's still a timeless hell raiser. What better way to do so than have some wily young lions in tow and another timeless hell raiser, Archie Shepp along for the ride? Cutting edge jazz in the civil rights era church basement is in tap here and the spigot is wide open. Whether giving Coltrane some love or charting their own course, this is wild stuff that doesn't show the main players age a whit. And it does it all without sounding like a roller coaster ride through hell. Wild stuff for wild ears that never thought they would hear anything like this again.

SHERYL BAILEY/A Meeting of Minds: This guitar led, organ trio nails it so hard you won't believe the effortless enjoyment flowing from it your first time through. Honed by this crew playing these tunes live over the last year, the swing, the flow and the vibe all conspire to knock you out. A sweet killer of a date where everyone is so in the pocket that it's almost scary, you can't help but come away from this a full blooded Bailey fan. Top shelf all the way.

SONYA ROBINSON/Whistle: The vibe doesn't carry through the whole session because Robinson wants to share what interests her with the listener, but the initial impression she gives here is that she could have been a member of Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man" band and that's enough to capture our attention. Winding up as a big apple jazzbo after letting life take her from Mississippi roots to Wisconsin, Robinson shows she's a fine fiddler with a feel for a lot of stops along the way, bottomed by the interesting one she has under her belt. Tasty stuff that works throughout.

TIM O'BRIEN & DARRELL SCOTT/Memories & Moments: It's obviously a highly subjective area, but this might be the best back porch record to come along since Doc & Merle were in their prime. Granted, the instrumentation is a little different and these old timey sounding songs are hot off the press, but the vibe is right on the money. In today's deconstructed world, it's great that killer music like this has just as much chance as anything to break through with out being marginalized. These two hitter knows how good they are and have been at it long enough not to need to hear it---but you need to hear it. Wonderful music from the heart with lyrics that surprise you if you really pay attention, this is a fine example of what you get when you get it from those who got what it takes. Killer stuff.

BRAD HOYT/Far Away From Everyday: If you don't know anything about Hoyt or harp guitar, Muriel Anderson is the first in line on the guest list and that's a big ‘nuff said right there. Sounding very much like the kind of early Windham Hill date that made you fall in love with the label before the demands of show biz made it jump the shark, this is one of those sets that exists somewhere in that twilight zone where jazz/new age/world/classical/etc all come together for those one of a kind experiences that blow you away. With the vast amount of guests and styles on display, this is a remarkably cogent and cohesive album of masterful performances. As good as it gets when it comes to adult listening, this is one for the books and the ages. Killer stuff throughout.

BONNIE RAITT/Now and Then: Here's a fun twofer for the holidays. A coupling of Raitt's recent Grammy winner signaling her second comeback and a cross licensed career recap giving you highlights from her stays at Warners and Capitol that might not be a popular version of her greatest hits but is a heavy duty trip through key tracks for her real fans and those that should be. Here's the proof that Raitt is existing outside the system just fine, and well done to boot.

JAMES BOOKER/Classified Remixed & Expanded: While the welcome bonus tracks interrupt the flow of the original session as they are added throughout rather than tacked on at the end, in the end, mo' Nawlins means mo' fun. In the tradition of Fess and all the great Nawlins ivory ticklers, Booker expertly rolls the barrel out of the barrel house and good times are had by all. If you missed the original the first time around, this is wonderful chance to hear what you missed and get a dandy bonus or being late to class to boot. Well done.

BILL COSBY/...Far From Finished: A week ago, we hipped you to the cd version of this special event, Cosby's first stand up special in 30 years. Drum roll, please. Here we have, in your choice of DVD or blu ray, the Robert Townsend directed video version of the concert event. With none of the audience cut aways that come with contemporary concert pics, the respect is shown the master as he holds the camera front and center throughout. As much as we love Comedy Central's cd-dvd combo packs, we appreciate the respect given one of the true masters in giving him a different rendition to tickle the senses of your choice. A cd might have more repeatability but since Cos is pushing 80, the ability to have a you-are-there choice is quite welcome. And it's still just as funny as we told you it was in the first place. Check it out.
DVD 80530/Blu Ray 7914401

Volume 38/Number 25
November 25, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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