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AMY CERVINI/Jazz Country: Cervini has already proven herself to the point of not having to prove anything, so album four finds her expanding the role of the jazz singer tackling what the Canada native is calling "North Americana" mixing oldies with country songs, soundtracks, originals and of course, jazz classics under the watchful ear of producer Matt Wilson who hits nary a skin anywhere in the proceedings. A bag breaker as well as a genre buster, Cervini's next project could be tackling the phone book and she's make it sound interesting. With the band and guests leaving their egos at the door, the music here and performance here speak volumes melding into a wonderful listening experience that works throughout. Well done.

BEAT KAESTLI/Collage: Wonder why this guy sounds familiar? Well, Swiss Air featured two of his album in flight for a year. There's a trail of other off beat placements where he's had the chance to sink into your consciousness without you realizing it. The Swiss transplant to New York has found to key to making records that should be gift shop records without them being doomed to that fate. Covering chestnuts like "La Mer", "Besame Mucho", "La Vie en Rose" and others, he uses that secrecy the Swiss used to use to guard their bank accounts in hiding the key elements of his special sauce that make this album delicate yet sturdy yielding quite the romantic session loaded with international flair. A tasty mix throughout, wannabes should note there was a lot of dues paying to get Kaestli to this point and it's what you have to do if you want to make it and make it right. A winner throughout.

STEVE DAWSON/Rattlesnake Cage: If you think you haven't heard anything like Dawson since the middle period of Takoma Records golden age, you are correct sir! A cat that can hold his own against young Leo Kottke, he is a long time award winner in his native Canada. Dawson has relocated to Nashville and if nothing else, he can establish him self in the competitive session scene there in a heartbeat. Whether hippie granola eater or acoustic guitar fan, Dawson delivers great listening throughout. If this is "American primitive guitar" then let's all go back to the stone age. Killer stuff that's simply a cut above.

PAULINHO GARCIA/Beautiful Love: Hats off top my new friend that I never met, Dr. Judith Schlesinger. 30 years ago, I "discovered" Garcia at a Peruvian restaurant in a crummy neighborhood. His break came half way through my meal so I stopped eating, wandered up to the ‘bandstand' and told him I wanted to record him. He looked at me like he was wondering why and what I was talking about. End of discussion. He's gone on to make a bunch of groovy albums in the meanwhile, but this was the record I wanted to make. Garcia and his guitar with vocals. One of those albums that proves well done simplicity is always in style, Garcia nails romantic interlude just right. Understatedly warm and sexy, releasing this album on Valentine's Day is just the right finishing touch. Loaded with pure, uncut Brazilian vibes, this album hits all the right notes throughout. Check it out.

JASON ANICK/Tipping Point: The analogists left out one important analogy. Listening to this jazz mandolin session would probably make Jethro Burns smile as much as he did when playing tricks on a young Sam Bush back in the 70s. Anick swings that jazz violin and mandolin with ease and aplomb making him a worthy successor to all the greats that came before. A modern jazzbo throughout, there's no dust on this cat as he takes it all into the future, even when digging into some jazz classics. Hot stuff and a leading light for the future of creative, accessible music. Top shelf throughout.

PARIJAT/Healing Path: Now living in rural Norway, this world beat world traveler has set his new age ear sights on the fjords, trees and silence that lies outside his back door to craft a new range of healing arts music that you might well consider gifting your massage therapist to update her music shelf. Easily riding the new age/NAC tip, this gently flowing session has some meat on it's bones making it much more than a mere noodle fest. With each track measuring 10 minutes and clocking out at a perfect hour, it's a sure bet you'll enjoy this more on the table than you will in the car, but I can hear how modern life can make this pretty handy to have in the car as well. Very much a solid, sonic depiction of what you can call ‘of time and rivers flowing.' Solid throughout.

NISTHA RAJ/Exit 1: While you rebel against your parents by getting tattoos, this Texas born Eastern India rebelled by picking up and moving from Texas to India to study classical Hindustani music. Coming back with about as much classical dust as L. Subrimanian had on him 30 years ago when hanging out with Zappa, Raj goes way deeper than belly dance music with a new kind of international pop that really pops. Her first album, it's the kind of session that's bursting with a lifetime of music welling up waiting for release that finally explodes in all directions quite delightfully. A great addition to any world beat collection, you can enjoy this as an armchair traveler but don't expect your butt to be welded to that chair.

DANIEL SMITH/Smokin' Hot Bassoon Blues: This is a gas. Take a crack crew turning up the heat, put one of the top bassoon players of the times in front of them, give them a classic set card of stuff like "Night Train", "Moanin'" "What'd I Say" and other jazz/blues tunes everybody knows and let the fun begin. A mainstream release? While the playing is the release isn't. A must for any jazzbo whose ears can appreciate something out of the ordinary, this one of a kind set is certainly no novelty player. Right on throughout.

Volume 38/Number 85
January 25, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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