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MEHMET ALI SANLIKOL/What's Next?: It's records like this that keep a smile on your face. A Turkish teen just flirting with jazz winds up at Berklee and ultimately turns out a killer jazz set that you'll be convinced is a great, lost, west coast session from World Pacific or Contemporary with cats like Bud Shank, Benny Carter and Marty Paich hiding out in the mix. As with anything else, once the manques got their hands on west coast jazz and monkeyed with it, the stuff you found in thrift sores sounded pretty corny. This is a throwback to the sounds the raised the bar. A gasser of a set you'll have a hard time putting down. Check it out.

HIRABAYASHI HOVMAN MAZUR/Surely: Now that he's over 70, it's time someone beside Denny Zeitlin made Denny Zeitlin albums. Leading a jazz trio, this pianist has that extra special something that pours out of her fingers with such ease and proficiency that you can't help but be amazed. There's a gumbo of a lot of different jazz running within the same song, but it all meets up in the end in grand fashion. This is one smoking modern jazz trio that knows how to hit it out of the park time after time. Killer stuff.

JON IRABAGON/It Take s All Kinds: Wandering off the Hot Cup reservation for a trio hang with Mark Helias and Barry Altschul, church basement/civil rights jazz is in full flower up in Boston way. There's an over riding feel of outtake sketches Bernstein didn't use for interstitial music in "West Side Story" running through this. You could choreograph rumble/ballets to this (if Irabaggon gets contacted by Artsploitation for soundtrack work, I want a piece!). Left field/left of center, this is what rising creative types blow when the yoke of heading for next big thing status starts to chafe.

KING OF PRUSSIA/Zonian Girls: It really doesn't get more ambitious than this. KofP's front man took three years off, came back from Europe recharged and set about making a double concept album of power pop that might be half devoted to life's losses, but it ain't shoe gaze. With crack audio that sounds as solid as a ‘real' release, scratch lo-fi ‘cred' here. Left field all the way and not very mindful of staying within the margins, this has the power of stuff people loved in the 60s and felt changed by. This should prove alt.indie still has some sturdy legs under pinning it when they need to be called forth. Well done.

FREE NELSON MANDOOMJAZZ/Shape of Doom jazz to Come-Saxophone Giganticus: A double ep from the Scottish jazzbo power trio takes it to Mars as only those Eurojazzbos can do when they are really acting out in the name of art. Kind of like Zappa's "Jazz From Hell" without the sugar coating, this is way out stuff for the truly way out.

TWINSCAPES: Audio ars gratia artis all the way. A jazzbo, a prog rocker and a guest list of lefties that dates back to the 70s come together here with Bill Laswell mixing it all up in ways that would make Teo Macero proud. This isn't music to impress your girl friend with unless she's deeper into the same drugs you are than you are, but when those malcontent moments are rising in your blood stream, this is something you can vent them to. Wild, angular stuff that exists well in it's own dimension, out there in the land of prog that knows no limits.

MIKE BARDASH QUINTET/Polygon: Modern jazz, right before civil rights jazz flourished, was wild and unpredictable. Bop and funk and soul came together in a wild way that seemed to have a mind of it's own even when pulling in different directions. Bardash and his crew sound like a period Quincy Jones, off the clock jam session from that time when he wanted to blow some sounds that no one had heard before whether it was commercial or not---that what day jobs at record companies were for. Crazy stuff that takes you back to the day, but not really, careening madly with special sauce and joie de vivre for all. Check this out for some wild rides.

RAY CHEN/Mozart: There's always room for a new Mozart album of old works when the players know how to pour on the special sauce and find the real insouciance in Mozart's works. Chen, abetted by Christoph Eschenbach and his orchestra deliver the goods in sizzling style. It's not a crossover album, but it has the drive to appeal to the ‘if you only buy one classical album this year' bunch. This violinist has the right stuff and isn't afraid to let you know. Hot stuff that works throughout.

Volume 38/Number 102
February 11, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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