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VOLCAN: Yep, that's Gonzalo Rubalcaba hiding out with his pals in the confines of this Latin jazz super group, all leaders in their own rights. Free wheeling and left leaning whether kicking it out on originals or digging some Diz, this is a wide open canvas that the players know how to color as well as wisely use white space. A dandy set of nu Latin jazz that goes the distance, you'd have to be deaf not to get it. Well done.

CLANCY BROTHERS/Collection 1956-62: The English public domain laws finally answer the question of who owns the old Tradition masters. We all do. This generously stacked twofer showcases the Clancy's first three Tradition albums, their second Columbia album and the parts of their first Columbia album that wasn't redundant to the Tradition masters. Yes, kids, there was once a time when they were bigger than bands like U2 or Beatles back when they were the biggest thing to come out of Great Britain. Even though the Columbia budgets were bupkes, you can hear the difference between that and the half a bupkes budget on Tradition. One thing that doesn't change it this stuff kicks ass. They set styles in music and fashion and drove everybody wild. If you never raised a glass with the Clancys and Tommy Makem, it's time to make up for what you missed. This was one of the prime drivers of 60s folk music that spawned so many manqué in such little time. Check it out. It's great stuff for once and for always.

ANTON SCHWARTZ/Flash Mob: An intuitive, swinging sax man, this is a no nonsense cut to the chase kind of player who studied under Warne Marsh and Eddie Daniels, both obviously taught him the only short cut is no short cut. Visceral jazzbo jazz, this is the kind of straight ahead sound with an edge that indies know just what to do with. Blazingly hot stuff throughout, Schwartz and company serve up some of the best ensemble playing around and make it sound way too easy. A winner throughout.

PT WALKLEY/Shoulders: As the deconstruction of everything continues, here we find a power pop malcontent set of songs by a cat that writes for Sesame Street and Dewar's commercials. And he acts in high profile stuff as well. Crazy stuff for crazy times. With high profile pals that hang around his recordings, it's almost as if there's no telling what's going to pop out of his hard drive next. Very much in the pocket for today's young power pop fans that have their left leanings flying freely on their sleeves.

CHRISTOPHER TITUS/Voice in My Head: It seemed like it would only be a matter of time before the label pulled one of their stalwarts out of down load only hell, something shiny disc fans would appreciate. Here we have Titus in his latest tour de force, delivering a lecture on the stupid things he does because of the weird voices in his head egging him on. No matter who or what he's dissing, he has a way of letting us laugh at our own screw ups while we're ostensibly laughing at him. We liked it as a download a few months ago and we like it as a handy dandy cd just as much. It's amazing how he can make such rough stuff so palatable.

CHRIS D'ELIA/White Male. Black Comic.: With his switchbacks between stand up and sitcom, D'Elia is quickly becoming a go to guy when you need the laughs and the attitude. A recording of his first stand up special, recorded in Nawlins, he brings his observational humor to the fore spilling on drunk girls, black dudes, English dudes and just common everyday stuff that gets pushed to the side or under the radar but is loaded with inherent humor that D'Elia knows how to key in on. A solid laugh riot, it's no wonder he's one of the new ones to keep an eye on. Well done.

IZZY CHAIT/Holiday Nights: You really have to give the jeweler turned vocalist credit. It's easy to sound like a jive ass when you hit the MOR lane but with each successive outing, Chait finds his footing more and more and zeroes in on any cred MOR has to offer. With some smart jazzbos and a welcome return of Scarlet Rivera, Chait tackles holiday classics (Mercy Mercy Mercy?) and gives them the zip you would expect from the uncle you like seeing during the holidays (as opposed to the other one). Fun stuff you want to have handy when no one at your holiday party knows how to play an instrument. This was recorded live in front of an audience that is clearly having a good time as well.

JEN MURPHY/Size Does Matter: A sidekick of Colin Quinn, this down and dirty gal has loads of street attitude and isn't afraid to show her one of the guys side. Nu chick humor in the wake of "Bridesmaids" that anyone can enjoy, Murphy is a fearless performer that never let's any propriety get in the way of a good laugh. Killer stuff that keeps the laughs coming, hard.

Volume 38/Number 32
December 2, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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