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EMMYLOU HARRIS and the Hot Band/Cowboy Angels: A pivotal, live radio promotional concert that found 1975 Harris at the crossroads of leaving GP's shadow and easing into musical life with up and coming Rodney Crowell and Elvis Presley refugees tearing it up on the road. The audience sounds a lot smaller that what she would be playing for even a year later but this is the blossoming of the seeds of the Harris we venerate today. This is how country was brought to a new, younger mainstream and it was a good tonic. Check it out, these promo items were highly sought after back in the day.

JOE LoCASCIO & WOODY WITT/Absinthe: A piano/sax face off on the works of Strayhorn with nary a lush life or A train in sight or ear shot. Digging fairly deep into the Strayhorn crates, the result by these two long standing pros is an intimate session that feels like it has them playing in an after hours club just for you. That very personal kind of jazz interplay that almost makes you feel like you're eavesdropping, these two need to get out of Texas more and spread this tasty stuff around. Well done.

DANNY FREYER/Must Be Love: Where are all these male, jazz vocalists that can step up to the mic without embarrassing themselves coming from all of a sudden? With a resonant voice powering an easy swinging vibe on a load of chestnuts, Freyer is sure to be able to pack them in anywhere ears welcome vocalists. With a swinging crew bringing up the rear, the overdue debut shows you're only as old/young as you feel---especially when the swing is the thing. Tasty stuff that make itself at home quite handily.

DIRTY LUNGS: All you kids that like it loud & proud, gather ‘round. Too loud to be a garage band because they'd bring the structure down, these flyover cats understand your pain if you're young and live somewhere between LA and NY. Fixtures in Birmingham, AL. they know how to rattle the walls to shake off the boredom and doldrums. Go ahead, pick your fave hard rocking, loud, cult crew from the last 40 years, these guys can match their unappreciated, underground vibe decibel for decibel.

TONI LINCOLN: One of the nice things about the deconstruction of the music business is that local scenes are getting their due because the internet lets anything blossom anywhere. A jazz thrush that's right in the pocket of all the classic singers shows that Portland, OR can nourish and flourish this sound. Intimate and clubby in the way of a Sarah Vaughn or others of that classic era, Lincoln has a nice easy swing to her vibe and she knows how to deliver those classic songs in a warm and winning way. Dandy stuff for jazz vocal fans looking for new stuff that's right in the classic pocket.

RIPPINGTONS/Fountain of Youth: How nice it is to hear a vet band not rest on their laurels. Taking their sound in a different direction after 25 years, this is more of a guitar driven date than you might expect from the band and they fuse a lot of what loosely falls under the jazz heading into a nice stew. Sounding as fresh as the title implies, this is still easy going but it shouldn't be mistaken for lite. Nice stuff from pros that know how to do it and get it done.

AL GROMER KHAN/Inner Witness: Trance fusion? Khan really messes with your mind this time out as this music calmly segues from one minute to the next in wild ways; at once contemplative, the next there's a passage for a gothic horror movie soundtrack where the protagonist is inching down a hallway to...? Taking a Steve Reich classic to the next level of the game, Khan makes music here as restless as what lurks under almost everyone's skin whether they admit to it or not. Sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a contemplative acid trip. Wild stuff throughout, often in ways you don't expect. Check it out.

VITTORIO GRIGOLO/The Romantic Hero: In which we find opera singers approaching solo albums the way a pop singer just might. The music and presentation are purely classical, but the Italian tenor pulls a bunch of songs from French operas that have propelled his career. Serving notice on Andrea Bocelli that it might be time to move over, Grigolo is firmly planting himself in the public eye as the contemporary tenor to reckon with. Not one of those neither here nor there recordings, the classical eye is firmly in the ball throughout but you get the feeling Grigolo is aware that the times, they are a changing. If you appreciate killer vocal work, you don't even have to approach this as a classical recording, not that he deigns to crossover in the least as evidenced here. A dandy ear opener for both the classical tourist and the vet. Check it out.

Volume 38/Number 206
May 24, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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