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SONNY STITT/Rearin' Back + Tribute to Ellington: First up is a no nonsense Chicago date produced by Esmond Edwards for Chess that finds Stitt just playing for the fun of it and that's paired with a date from a few years earlier that came out a few years later in which we find Creed Taylor trying to mold him in the Verve mold with some real LA swingers in tow. Stitt, an acolyte of Charlie Parker, simply gives his sax a work out either way that would require the valves to need a lot of oil afterwards. Not just a skronkfest, Stitt had it going on and deserves more recognition than he got as these two sessions exemplify. Killer turn of the 60s jazz that's sure to bring out the daddio in anyone.

JOHN CLAYTON/Parlor Series Vol. 1 featuring Gerald Clayton: Some stuff should be crowd funded and some stuff should stay in the closet. When a cat like Clayton turns to crowd funding, it's like the patronage system in Mozart's time. A cat like Clayton should be free to make the albums he wants on the schedule he wants pretty much the way he wants. Sure the cats writing the checks at the companies know a thing or two about what they are doing but cats like Clayton have forgotten more about jazz than said check writers'll ever know. Here we finding him kicking off a new series of duets with his son on ivories. A series of Clayton doing intimate duos with musical friends? There's two more in the can, one with Hank Jones, and all I can say is bring it on! Whether or not this is the start of something big, this is the start of something big for people that love killer jazz played just for them. In the pocket and on the money throughout.

BOBBY DARIN/This is Bobby-That's All: This set pairs the two albums that let Darin coast for years after. Not only that, but "That's All" has "Mack the Knife" and "Beyond the Sea" back to back and what more do you really need? Backed by some of the greatest jazzbos of the era, it's no wonder these are such marvelously swinging albums that featured him as something other than the latest teen idol. Just plain killer stuff that's ripe and ready for a new generation to experience for some real kicks. Timeless, hot stuff!

DAVID PACK/Napa Crossroads: Oh, hell, yuppies need love too. David Pack rounds up a guest list that defies description and uses his pop and extravaganza chops to pull together funding and fun from five Napa wineries to make this wine gift shop set that's soon going to escape Napa and hit the open market. Wine, lite jazz and boomer friendly musos, it's a mixture that swings for the fences in it's own way and it doesn't matter if it goes over the fence or not or whatever you think. This is an event. It's fun. It is what it is. The cynical won't like it and chicks that like merlot and fashion will find it groovy. So there.

HAYLEY REARDON/Wayfindings: From Boston this tyro came and she follows in the footsteps of top shelf folkies from seasons passed. Wise beyond her 17 years, and certainly not in the major label manufactured way, Reardon has a certain spunk that makes you pay her more mind than you would any other teen coming down the pike claiming to be deep. The only thing wrong with this set is that it's only an ep. This kid has a bright future ahead of her and could conceivably retire comfortably before hitting 30. Check it out.

MATT NEWTON TRIO/Within Reach: A traditional jazz piano trio with an improvisational bent, they took money from a Canadian arts council but they don't play arts council music. Freely swinging to the left, this on the rise crew goes past the dinner music sound and past the hipster vibe into a nice sound all their own. Lightly aggressive, there a certain something here for almost everyone that likes piano trio jazz and likes it serves just right. Nicely done throughout.

GRANT GREEN/First Recordings: Like Wes, Green was from the heartland; like Wes, he didn't live all that long; like Wes, he could play up a storm of jazz guitar. This set takes it all back to jump when he was surrounded by a first call bunch for a couple of afternoons, and in the style if the day, was given the opportunity to kick it out on some familiar stuff just to see how well he could do what he had to do. Like a lot of the timeless stuff of the era, it swings and kicks ass. Dandy guitar led jazz combo stuff that almost feels like dinner music today, this was the beginning of something that special as later evidenced by him being one of the few that could transition from Blue Note to CTI. By all means, check it out.

200 MOTELS: Yep, Virginia, it's really been 43 years since Lonesome Cowboy Burt came reeking at you, ya hot little bitch! Here's a dada film fest that was a fictionalized version of Zappa's home movies from the road that featured the Mothers, Flo & Eddie, the GTOs, Ringo and Moony, and of course, Theodore Bikel (?). There was a lot of misunderstood dada flowing through projection booths at the time, but this didn't have the build in audience a pic like "Rocky Horror" had that would come to it's rescue when given the chance. And that's how cult classics are made. Is it really a mess? If you're a Zappa hardcore, you've seen it and don't think so---and you probably have the vinyl double album soundtrack with movie poster in tact to boot. If you haven't seen it---well don't you want to see Ringo play Zappa? C'mon kids, this is when rock ruled the earth and the drugs were really something to write home about. I've seen what you throw in your Netflix cue----give this a shot.

Volume 38/Number 99
February 8, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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