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ANTONIO ADOLFO/Rio, Choro, Jazz...: The Brazilian music power house takes a trip down memory lane to pay tribute to Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth who's most recent composition was written in 1912. Making the basis for choro sound modern and contemporary, this might have started out as a labor of love but in the end, nothing about this feels labored. Making the music contemporary and his own, piano man Adolfo once again shows why he's a national treasure in Brazil and should be as justly appreciated everywhere. Tasty stuff that opens world beat ears a little farther in a most delightful way. First class throughout.

AHMED NASHEED/Dhaalu Raa: A cat that's been trying to put music from Maldives on the map for over 20 years finally steps out with his first solo album which honors his roots in the rocking 60's, the sounds of the islands that make up his homeland and the sounds going on around him. With a gestation and genealogy like that, you'd be surprised if a percussion driven ‘debut' set like this wasn't something special. Once you hurdle the language barrier, easy rocking in any language is easy rocking--and when it has a flow like this, it's easy to get in rhythm with it. In what might be the opening shot at making the Maldives more than a tropical honeymoon paradise, this is music adults can party to until you don't want to pay the baby sitter any more overtime bonuses. Check it out.

IMARHAN TIMBUKTU/Akal Warled: How misleading. This indigenous Mali record sounds like happy, local folk music and yet, if you knew the words, you'd know they are talking about the hardships of Diaspora and longing. A different flavor of world beat than the usual armchair traveler fare, this set is disarmingly charming and modern. There's still a lot of musical ethnicity to explore that this set is a dandy first stop on some new uncharted sounds. Well done.

GLASS WANDS: The well traveled modern rock keyboard man is a little tired of being in the shadows and steps out with his own solo set while hiding behind a group name. Not taking the usual alt.stance in his work, Brooks Tipton shows himself to be a real muso willing to take chances but always sound professional. Not overpowering but not minimalist, it's right on contemporary instrumental music with a dark edge that pops up often and freely. Aligning itself along chamber music lines, this shapes up as killer after hours music for millenials.

LESLIE PINTCHIK/In the Nature of Things: I first encountered Pintchik in the early days of the major labels falling apart. Looking at things with old school eyes, I was trying to wrap my heard around why something that sounded so good was falling through the cracks. Ok, it was the shape of things to come. Continuing on her indie way, Pintchik shows that she has it all on the ball as a jazzbo leader/writer/player taking piano jazz to interesting places. With a touch of this and a smidge of that, Pintchik tickles and teases your ears in a delightful way. Leading the charge with a nice dose of early, after hours jazz, Pintchik and her first call crew turn in a set that can go toe to toe with any of your fave piano jazz sets and hold it's head up high. Another winning collection that doesn't need a monolith behind it, you owe to yourself to open your ears and check this out.

CHAT NOIR/Elec3cities: Ah, the march of time. This piano trio uses all that technology has to offer, right up to and including recording in the cloud. Not improved like other modern jazz trios, this is composed music that just isn't all played at the same time, a luxury electronica affords. Way too progressive in attitude for the average moldy fig, this is nu jazz for the mash up generation as it's only loosely jazz with a bunch of other stuff in the mix even if it can fit into modern jazz margins. Wildly wild stuff for those who don't like to be told what to do.

PLYMOUTH: Saft and Morris are at it again, this time adding some new co-conspirators to the mix. Atmospheric ambient music for those raised on Eno, this is background music for the modern opium den. Three long pieces that remind of a stripped down "Music for 18 Musicians", you really have to be pretty far left of center to think of this as mainstream.

HAIKU/Flow: Have you been thinking about new age in Denmark? Well, Real Music has and turned up this set that tackles variations on a theme you think you know well. Some pretty cool keyboard stuff with a lite Euro patina washed over it, this relaxation set will have you reaching for the gouda and edam rather than cheddar as you mellow out to it with some wine and cheese. Thoughtfully long enough for you to slip your massage therapist as a gift to update her record collection without her miffing that it doesn't cover the length of the average session, a nice slice of inner peace is only a spin away. Check it out.

Volume 38/Number 140
March 20, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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