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BRIDGET KELLY BAND/Back in the Blues: Anyone that has a problem with just having fun and good times can skip over this. While so many white, blues mamas want to be Janis and scorch their throats, Kelly doesn't shy away from a throat scorch, but she looks (kind of like) and sounds (at times) like Kim Carnes. With her and her band bringing their blues from Florida, there's obviously a different sun shining on Florida than Texas or the delta because there's nothing hard scrabble here. This is the perfect tonic for anyone that thinks blues has to be downbeat. The rest of the crew backs Kelly up with the kind of SoCal sound Carnes had before "Bette Davis Eyes" albeit with a blues wash. Great stuff for when you just want to bob your head and tap your toe without a care in the world. Check it out.

BRIDGET KELLY BAND/Forever in Blues: C'mon, you've all done it once in a while. You know how you liked the club band enough to buy a cd at the merch table on your way out because of some sense of obligation because you had a good time? The disc stays wrapped in the car, unplayed, and probably forgotten under the seat until you get the ride detailed. This ain't that disc and this ain't that band. You'll not only buy this on the way out of the gig and play it, you'll come back to pick up a few as gifts for your music fan pals. Further refining their infectious groove, this crew has got a real handle on pop/blues, so much so that you can hear purists popping a few arteries in the distance. This second set by the Kelly band is just plain on the money throughout subtly reminding that the job of entertainers is to entertain. Put this at the top of your list of gassers that delivers a pure bred good time from start to finish.

AUDREY MARTIN/Living Room: Since all forms of artist development seems to have gone to hell in a hand basket permanently, women of certain age looking for a little something extra in their lives seem to be jazz vocal's best, new friend. Growing up in Chicago around jazz with a father who did gigs with the principles of Young Holt Unlimited a good 15 years before the fact, Martin easily and capably brings the jazz to compositions by Leonard Cohen, Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell just as easily as she does to Blossom Dearie, Yip Harburg, John La Touche and other standard bearers. Jazz vocal fans will easily rate this set as essential. Well done.

CANCERS/Fatten the Leeches: This ad hoc duo takes time away from their respective crews to test the waters for some grunge nostalgia. Leading with Nico like vocals but lacking the ennui, today's bummed high school kids can finally dump dad's Smashing Pumpkin cds when he isn't looking and revel in crunchy, sonic bummers they can call their own.

BEVERLEY MARTYN/The Phoenix & the Turtle: Here's an anomaly for you unless you're a hard core John Martyn fan. You probably never heard of her even if she started her recording career with Jimmy Page, Bert Jansch, went on to work with Simon & Garfunnkle bla bla bla bla bla!!! Then came the children and the troubled marriage to the troubled genius and a nearly 40 year break in making records. Hell, this folk record is the record she should have made after "Storm Bringer". An utterly charming, Woodstock flavored back porch record, this set might recall a time and place but it doesn't wallow in same. You can easily picture this being released on Bearsville before they stumbled on Foghat. This is a winning slice of easy rolling folk rock from a vet you might not realize was there when it all happened but has come through time and tide not sounding any worse for wear. Genre fans have to rally around this set.

MITCH HAUPERS/Invisible Cities: Over the years, I've met loads of great players in piano bars and universities that wanted the hard to achieve duality of playing all the time and having a normal life that there's no reason to cast aspersions on this guitarist/educator making his debut now that he's turned 55. And such auspicious company he attracted to what he originally intended to be a set of intimate duets but has gone further afield than that! Almost like a stealth Yellowjackets record on a busman's holiday, this is loaded with the kind of smoking sitting down jazz that's still escaping from the Blue Note vaults after being unreleased for half a century. With so many mad skills on display, your job is to sit back and enjoy it all, preferably with a snifter of XO and some dim lights near by. Killer stuff throughout.

INTERSTATIC/Arise: If you've been following Rare Noise's releases, you know that when they call this an organ trio set, you aren't getting any Jimmy Smith here. When they call it jazz rock, you aren't getting any Brian Auger here. A power jazz/rock trio with as much accent on crunchy guitar as organ, this is jazz/rock as defined by the current crop of King Crimson young spin off crews. Not exactly jazz/rock as Lou Reed would have produced it in his "Metal Machine" phase, this isn't linear stuff, this is jazz/rock for a fun house ride through hell when you're just a little amped up. This is a wild ride that you have to be ready for and well strapped in before the attendant throws the switch.

LISA HILTON/Kaleidoscope: Hilton's at it again. Astonishing us with her versatility, that is. This time around, we find a white girl can put her finger on the pulse of church basement/civil rights jazz and bring it into the present without either of them kicking and screaming. Cherry picking her way through time and tide, with her usual great taste in sidemen, pianist Hilton serves up a real bag breaker of ensemble work for jazzbos that want something meatier than commercial fare. One of the best all around player/leader/composers does it again and raises the bar for all comers. Hot stuff.

Volume 38/Number 244
July 1, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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