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DAVID OLNEY/When the Deal Goes Down: Olney might have been doomed from the start to be a cult act, like Jesse Winchester, another cat that made wonderful records but found his pen was mightier than his sword (voice). For those of us in the know that have been trumpeting for great things for years will feel like it's Christmas in July this year when cracking open the shrink wrap in this latest from Olney. Rocking out, not sounding anything like a cat that's been at it for 40 years, obviously following his muse in his own way in his own time has led him to his personal fountain of youth. While this is certainly a boomer friendly folk/rock, singer/songwriter set, the young ‘uns might want to find out what's going on with this grandpa pictured on the cover talking to a skull. Hot stuff for a vet that sounds like he's just hitting his stride.

JULIA KAROSI/Hidden Roots: It's ear opener time again kids as we find the second outing from one of Hungary's top jazz vocalists and graduate of the Franz Liszt Music Academy serving us a set where it sounds like Lani Hall channeling Ella Fitzgerald. Not worrying about the language barrier as she scats a whole bunch, there's a winning contemporary jazz vibe here where you hear echoes of all the stuff you've liked over the years jam packed into her originals. Posing no real answer to the question of what is jazz, Karosi and her pals aren't worried about it in the least---they just play. The boundaries are pushed nicely and not radically, and the chops on display cut across all languages and borders. Check it out.

PAUL JOST/Breaking Through: Who'd have thought the cat that gave Rick Danko one of his most enduring, late period songs was a jazzbo that had a strong, inner Mark Murphy with a hint of Mel Torme phrasing? A left leaning, male jazz vocal set that never goes overboard while pushing the envelope, Jost's album title is quite appropriate. A winning set throughout that gives you brilliant new takes on old standards, there's just nothing here not to like. Well done.

CHIARA IZZI/Motifs: A 2011 Montreux vocal competition winner sort of discovered by Quincy Jones shows she knows how to command a sound that has depth beyond her years. Even her light accent is a grabber giving the chestnuts on display that something new that keeps your ears on board. An important new jazz vocal voice, Izzi is a charmer with loads on the ball. Hot stuff.

ISABEL STOVER/Her Own Sweet World: It's not Stover's fault for not knowing that "Nature Boy" is just one of those songs that's like finger nails on a blackboard to me. That's the only knock I have about this jazz vocal set that mines the contemporary view of things in placing Michael Jackson next to Evans & Livingston. With some neat stuff we don't get to hear enough of anymore on board, Stover is a hot stove from top to bottom. Jazz vocal fans have one less thing to bitch about once they let Stover fill a void for them. Well done.

A SHORELINE DREAM/Silent Sunrise: Vet progressive shoe gazers add some swirling psych to their sonic arsenal to keep them relevant to younger bothers going through record collections of sibs that abandoned them for college. Content to work hard in the underground, these anti-popsters continue to build their base with those having raging hormones with nowhere to go and thoughts they haven't fully articulated on their own. This is how you rage against the machine in 2014.

MARK MEADOWS/Somethin' Good: Ah, another shrink that gets his degree and then kicks it with jazz piano in fine form. Started at a early age when his pop gave him a Casio keyboard at age 3, Meadows may have opted for security first, but his status as a jazzbo in the DC area makes it look like the degree is a safety net he really won't need to jump into. A fine example of the old school playing that used to turn everybody on before the major labels decided everything had to swing for the fences, this set of contemporary jazz with a modern edge has just the right amount of darkness to it to make this perfect night sounds. Solid stuff that would make his pop proud that his own jazzbo instincts were right on the money.

DAVE KAIN/Raising Kain: When a tasty jazz guitarist comes out with a new set with a title like "Miley Cyrus is the Devil", you know it's an attention getting move, but this cat is worth playing attention to. If Wes had found his way to breeziness without Claus Ogerman's help, you'd have an idea on what Kain is serving up here. A highly skilled and talented player, he knows his way around deceptively easy sounds that take real chops to pull off. The trio here is in synch and the work cooks throughout. Well done and must have stuff for jazz guitar fans that like their fast balls served right down the middle waiting to be hit out of the park.

Volume 38/Number 245
July 2, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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