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BLUESMASTERS/Vol. 3: In which we confront a dose of evolution. The core group pretty much was perceived as a vehicle for Mickey Thomas' comeback/frat boy fantasies. Things change, Thomas is now a member of the group and the focal point is the guitarists' 16 year old daughter who does a pretty dandy turn as a red hot blues shouter that could teach her contemporaries on "Idol" etc a thing or two about how to belt effectively. In the tradition but rocking, the group changes it's attack from covers to originals, brings on some high profile guests and generally kicks ass on it's own terms this time around. It's a winner of a heartland rocker throughout delivering a solid dose of American night music.

JOSEPH KLEIN/Improbable Encounters: Here's a special treat for the avant garde, contemporary classical fan. This cd-dvd combo set is a career retrospective of Klein, reaching back 30 years turning this into an audio catalog d'etre. While jokers can easily cite this as the reason why Red Seal classified "Metal Machine Music" as a classical release, left leaning eggheads need audio love too. Mainstream pop for people you just don't get, this stuff is pretty out there.

CHRIS PARKER/Full Circle: The multi talented piano man does it again. With a totally different sound and feel than his last trio date, Parker has a bunch of different pals and sounds lending a helping hand on this date. Swinging his way around the room in high octane fashion throughout, this crew is having a good time. They make sure you will too. Whatever ports of call they check in at, Parker and company give you a great ride getting there. A tonic for ears in serious need of perking up. Check it out.

JIM OLSEN ENSEMBLE/We See Stars: For his latest release, the composer pares things down from his usual big band stuff to accommodate of nonet of stars and pals and pals who are stars. The result is a killer, atavistic, west coast jazz date. Hot, happening, swinging stuff, this is sitting down jazz at it's finest. With loads of utterly cool blowing from the densely packed wind section, you'd have to be in a coma not to feel this groove. Hot stuff throughout.

LISA FERRARO/Serenading the Moon: If you're going to call Houston Person in to produce, you are going to get great sound, great guests and nothing but class. That said, the results here should be no surprise. A marvelously mature jazz vocal date, this is a must for the aging boomers that brought Windham Hill success in the face of hair bands in the early 80s. A sonic dream as well as a tasteful, tasty recording, Ferraro might not have the bombast in her bag of tricks but she can otherwise hold her own with vocalists like Bernadette Peters quite handily. Sophisticated without being stiff, this is one classy recording that a gasser as well.

ROZINA PATKAI/Voce e Eu: Wondering if we need another Jobim tribute set? Check this out. A Hungarian singer rounds up the best jazzbos in Budapest and, voila!, magic happens. With their land locked, slivovitz take on bossa, Patkai and her pals deliver upbeat samba for the 10s in fine style. Loaded with everything you could want and more, this date is a winner throughout, crisp and clear and loaded with more hot vibes than one release should have,. Who would have thought bossa would take a left turn into the land of goulash so successfully. Hot.

KIM SIMMONDS & SAVOY BROWN/Goin' to the Delta: In which we find Simmonds going back to his roots 50 years on. Originally wanting to be the British version of a Chicago blues band that was the product of the great migration, Simmonds and a couple of pals take it back to what Butterfield was listening to at the Checkerboard and Simmons wishes he had been. Not one to get wistful, Simmonds delivers a bunch of originals that have the vibe of the originals he's emulating. A blues rock power trio spiritually transplanted from Chicago's back in the day west side to the present, you could almost hear these guys opening for Muddy Waters once the rockers found him, if they had found him 10 years earlier. Clearly, a fun nu journey through the past.

JIM SUHLER/Panther Burn: A solid, sizzling dose of white boy blues form Texas squarely in the tradition of white boys that know how to tear it up, the backing ax man to the stars steps out for his fifth date and make sit seem like he's getting younger and staying out later. With power chords flying and sweat dripping, this is music for people who like live music and want to stay out all night to hear it.. This is the sound of contemporary bar band at the top of the game.

Volume 38/Number 106
February 14, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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