BACK PACK JONES
BACK PACK JONES/Betsy's Kitchen: A bunch of white boys from southern Illinois have the extra special knack for mixing jump blues with driving rock to create a smoking combo by a smoking combo. Utterly great party music that keeps the party rolling, this is how we do it in the heartland. If you stop to check out the lyrics, these cats do some heavy lifting on that side as well mixing some track stopping philosophy into the bouncing beat. Well done throughout and heavy on originals to boot.
BILL BANFIELD'S JAZZ URBANE/Playing with Other People's Heads Songs: In which we tackle the question of whether or not you can take civil rights era church basement jazz, add Courvoisier, and come up with a whole new thing that is thoughtful, can carry a message and still manages to keep a low fire burning to light the way to somewhere beyond smooth jazz? Banfield tells us the answer is yes. Definitely not music for the club, these are thoughtful and thought provoking statements that bring the politics as well as the groove and give each a fine focus. Solid stuff that's a must if you are prepared to think a bit out of the box.
CURTIS STIGERS/Hooray for Love: Although he's always dipped his toe in oldie waters, Stigers less worried about publishing income this time around putting more oldies in the mix he can put his stamp on to make sure he can put the strongest thing he can in your hands. The reliable cat turns in a reliable cocktail jazz set that might have some feeling like he's changing his métier, but if he is, he isn't doing it in an embarrassing way like other vet acts that want to make sure the checks keep coming from the mothership no matter what the public thinks. Actually kind of a bag breaker, Steve Tyrell better start looking over his shoulder.
JOHNNY DRUMMER/Bad Attitude: If you really like old school, post war Chicago amped up blues, you better not tell me you never heard of this cat that's been turning it out right in that pocket for 55 years. Hate to say I wasn't familiar with him until hearing his fourth set for Earwig and I have to wonder where either/both of us have been hiding. Simply killer stuff that's pretty far removed from the old school cotton field stuff that keeps the vibe in tact but covers the fields with the pavement of contemporary concerns and outlooks. Hardly sounding like a cat in his 70s, Drummer is a cooker that serves it up hot throughout. This is a heaping helping of the real deal. Check it out.
EUFORQUESTRA/Fire: I guess just like we never would have thought there was so much funk in Minneapolis, we are a tad surprised to find so much funk in Denver. Isn't that where people go to ski and fire up? Leading the way with energetic funk that belies the thin air, laid back vibe we associate with Denver, these guys burn up a load of scarce oxygen with their high octane transmissions. A grand party record if there ever was one, this is a record that just screams ‘weekend' in all caps. Hot stuff throughout.
TERRY QUIETT BAND/Taking Sides: If there was any lingering doubt, erase it. This crew has fully arrived. Kicking things off with the kind of choogling boogie blues that electrifies your hair endings and fries your synapses, Quiett is now leading the blues power trio to beat. A monster of an unfettered frat party run wild, you can just picture this crew providing the juice in the middle of a power outage in the middle of the American night. Hard hitting, killer stuff that shows others just how it's done. Killer stuff.
NOSHIR MODY/Stories from the Years of Living Passionately: This jazzbo guitarist who is a native of India that transplanted to the big apple in the mid 90s shows how serious he is about letting the whole, wide world be his influence. Whatever you've ever dug is in the mix here from Shakti to smooth jazz to Paul Horn to Paul Winter to Pall Mall. Kicking it out with a quartet of like minded pros on a mission to serve it right and tight, Mody is out to make the world a smaller place. First rate stuff that sounds like world beat for a nu generation of jazzbos. Hot stuff, even when they play it cool.
THE FORTY NINETEENS/Spin It: Move it over boomers, The Cars are nostalgia now and it looks like it'll be a while before jangly guitars come back around. With enough hooks embedded to grab themselves foreign distribution from companies that pioneered house music and to grab soundtrack placements, these guys are probably indie by choice and not by necessity. While their 80s vibe is firmly in pace, they are widening their scope to add some period Brit pop sensibilities as well. A clear cut case of taking the best and leaving the rest, these nostalgia revisionists are shaping their sound for now. Smart contemporary pop throughout.
Volume 38/Number 135
March 15, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record
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