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CATHERINE & WIND/New Folks: Who knew these tow hitters knew each other? While the simplicity of a guitar/bass duo might be too basic for some listeners, these two have a combined resume that reads like an encyclopedic who's who of jazz and it's worth hearing what they come up for that alone. With an off the clock set list that veers from Macca to Irving Berlin with stops at Hank Jones (and there's no piano player here), this feels like a Chet Atkins off the clock session where it's all about the picking as showcased by unassailable pros. All you have to do is put this on, fill a snifter, turn down the lights and pull the hassock close---the world will seem like a much better place. Simple but deep, this is the real deal. Well done.

ULF WAKENIUS/Momento Magico: The long standing guitar great puts it all out front and center in a solo set that lets his magic fingers serve up one tasty dish after another. And he gets extra points with us for topping off this set of originals with an enchanting cover of "La Mer" that would leave Bobby Darin breathless. A magic set for anyone enthralled about what five fingers and six strings can do. Check it out.

MIKE MARSHALL & CHORO FAMOSO/Segunda Vez: Mike Marshall shows that you can be part of the initial Windham Hill incursion and still have a sense of humor. With his gringo pals, they present their second slice of choro, this time around giving the music‘s 140 year existence a quick overview. Playing with verve and humor as well as a sprightly touch, this is a joyful send up of ethnic music that has world wide appeal. Springing from it's Brazilian base, this is sweet, world jazz that will charm you from start to finish. Light and easy but not vacation music, the armchair travel really has the upper hand here. A winner throughout.

FERRILL GIBBS/Significant Trees: With a wealth of alt.talent on board, if you like alt.singer/songwriters, he's got the chops for delivering in that mode. Quasi folkies can shoe gaze too.

JEROME KITZKE/The Paha Sapa Give-Back: For his first album in 15 years, Kitzke shows that arts council music can do contemporary stuff like mash-ups as well. He goes about working the works of Ginzburg, Rumi, Whitman and others into his far ranging observations about man's in humanity to man. If it had cussing, this would be to the left of Fugs but it's pretty far out there none the less. Don't know if it's intentional or not, but this guy sounds like Bullwinkle a lot of the time. Wild stuff that you might have to appreciate Lee Groban to get.

JOHN HALLE/Outrages & Interludes: Arts council chamber jazz meets lefty politics for a stage interlude of it's own. Sunday afternoon music for Occupy types, there's certainly something lofty here for high brow types that like music that makes them think.

RICKY KEJ & WOUTER KELLERMAN/Winds of Samsara: We've been blown away by these two talents individually in the past and now that they've found each other, the result is killer, but nothing like you'd expect. Pulling from their collective heritages, they lead with something that sounds like some traditional new age but is really a deep, world music set that draws some new age energy for it's message of peace. More one world than other world, armchair travelers have a genre masterpiece on their hands here. Check it out.

LOVERS KEY/Here Today Gone Tomorrow: No matter what you think of Pharrell Williams, he's opening the door for old school R&B with modern touches and the talented cats that are walking through that door are delivering the goods. Sounding like something you'd hear at Wigan Casino, this crew is right in the pocket and this sound is going to go well beyond the ears of Chalkie and his pals. Well done.

Volume 38/Number 254
July 11, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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