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CARMEN GRILLO/A Different World: A funky hippie of long standing, with band stints in everything from Tower of Power to Sons of Champlin, Grillo finally hits his rolodex and rounds up the gang for his first solo album. An after hours party rocking party record, when you have a posse that includes Mike Finnigan, Bobby Watson, Rob Mullins and everybody else on the west coast that matters and was home when he called, you can be sure the funk and blues will be dripping from every quadrant. Something sure to ping with the mature frat boy lurking in every boomer, this is a show band rave up of a good timer. Hot stuff from those in the know.

DA CRUZ/Disco E Progresso: Maybe because it's foreign to our ears or maybe it's because this crew really just kicks ass but their brand of tropical new wave/urban Brazilian disco is some of the most killer party music we've heard in quite some time. With grooves so hot gringos don't have to worry about understanding the lyrics, this double cd, with one light disc and one dark disc, shows how this international crew and handle anything and everything. Any boomer still self conscious about asking for senior discounts will not be able to keep themselves form shaking it when these grooves get unleashed. Killer stuff that opens the international pop ears mightily, this is killer stuff throughout from a crew that really has it going on. Not to be missed.

HOLLY HOFFMAN/Low Life-The Alto Flute Project: Way back at the beginning of Tom Waits' career when he was surrounding himself with real jazzbos and trying to recreate a vibe, he must have had some effect on Hoffman because the premiere jazz flute player is channeling some daddio/real hipster vibe from those dates. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a bunch of contemporary real jazzbos like Clayton, Hamilton, Wofford and Anthony Wilson behind you just digging the digging into that vibe. The first time she's made a whole date of alto flute, any mainstream jazzbo that just wants to hear great stuff will flip for these proceedings. Simply hot stuff throughout where everybody shines, this date is hot stuff cooking with the gas all the way up never letting you know just how white hot it is. Well done.

CHALLENGER/Back to Bellevue: A nice slice of electronic folk/pop organically recorded in John Ross' childhood bedroom. Audio wall paper for younger tastes, you can hear this echoing in college dorm halls as the seasons change and after the kids had a summer to chew on it in the underground.

JOHN MAYALL/A Special Life: And we're calling him the godfather of British blues instead of a geezer because..? How about because he's still innovating and having fun. Hooking up with C.J. Chenier, Mayall delivers a whole new vibe and vector. Sounding like an off the clock/after hours record, he's still giving up Albert King, Jimmy McCrackin and west side Chicago in the form of his white boy rhythm section from Chicago. Always the ethical cat that gave props to those that gave up the source material, that pureness of heart keeps the vibe rolling here in top form. White boy blues from a cat with white hair, Mayall could probably put together a new set of Bluesbreakers tomorrow and do it all over again. A real frat boy gasser of a set.

BAKA BEYOND/After the Tempest: The original Afro-Celtic band is back after 5 years away from the studio with a mystical, enchanting release that takes you to places you've only heard in dreams--and you don't have to get your neck bitten. An utterly mind blowing world music release, this overwhelms by under playing and just letting you fall into it as it wraps itself around you. Weaving sounds and voices into a seamless whole that would make a spider web jealous, this is the kind of thing those cheesy nature records can only aspire to. Hot stuff that'll shoot to the top of the armchair travelers play list in no time flat.

ARTURO O'FARRILL & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra/The Offense of the Drum: Here's a solid dose of Nuyorican jazz from a big apple legacy that lives up to the standards his father set. Originally music from the streets, O'Farrill brings the new streets to the music without corrupting the heritage while keeping it current. Solid stuff that leaps from the disc, this is hot, heavy stuff that is about as far from sitting down jazz as you can get. Well done throughout from a cat that never delivers anything less.

JC SANFORD ORCHESTRA/Views From the Inside: It's hard to be a jazz orchestra with egghead tendencies without inviting comparisons to Stan Kenton recordings where he was trying to put some egghead stuff over on the public and not let them carry the 50s image of jazzbos as junkies around with them. It doesn't sound like there's any junkies on board here and they do that thing where they find a way to mix a Paul Winter vibe with free wheeling, free jazz. Well constructed and executed egghead jazz, this goes well with Sunday brunch where you want something with more bite than smooth jazz but not enough bite to make the eggs Benedict curdle. A well played date for those looking for something expansive and wide ranging.

DOUG MUNRO/Doug Munro's Loop-Mania: Being a killer guitarist isn't enough anymore. Munro breaks new musical consumption grounds with this multi media presentation of six new songs that take you over, under, around and through the music with a visual presentation, downloadable mp3, notes and more. An acoustic guitarist that has a grasp of what electronics can do, this is also a subversive guitar lesson bottomed by some nice music. Since this doesn't fit the format yet, welcome to the brave new world.

Volume 38/Number 185
May 3, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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