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ERIC HARLAND'S VOYAGER/Vipassana: You should check this out just because of the cats on board here, but if you do check this out because of the cats on board here, be prepared to hear them do nothing like you've ever heard them do before. In which we find a bunch of young jazzbos adding left leaning new age, their version of trip hop and more into the mix that makes this almost anything but a jazz record. Easily head music for the nu millennium, Harland and his pals are making the most of the deconstruction of everything to chart a course of their own. It's laden with reliable chops and they are put in service of pushing the envelope. Aimed squarely at younger tastes, you can bet this will be the most roundabout way of having kids discover "Kind of Blue" ever. If you're over 21 and not a fan of King Crimson and it's off shoots, let the whippersnappers have a shot and have their say.

DIVE INDEX/Lost in the Pressure: One of those moveable banquet kind of bands that has members coming in and out and collaborators weaving through the mix, this time around, these commercial malcontents working under Will Thomas' watchful eye serve up the electro shoe gaze with another wide palette of talents putting it together. Sounding like a lot of the stuff you hear at the end of TV shows these days, it's nice indie pop for younger tastes.

BOBBY BROOM/My Shining Hour: Swinging easily from Sonny Rollins to Steely Dan, you have to wonder why Broom still makes Chicago his home after all these years. With all the corporations and ad agencies bought up and moved out of town, there isn't the work here for a jazzbo that there was years ago, and since Broom is one of the tastiest guitarists around, we like knowing he has enough to eat to keep his energy up. This set finds him doing something he never wanted to do, but doing it his way and making it work. This time around, Broom dips into the chestnuts, but he does it with his own band and shows own style making songs you never wanted to hear again fresh and new---and even lively. This set is anything but a place holder and is probably as close to Wes as you can get in today's real time. Hot stuff that shows what real mastery is all about.

MITCH SHINER & the BloomingTones Big Band/Fly!: And the Gulch releases yet another hot, young jazzbo into orbit. Preparing for this debut since he first started banging on drums in Milwaukee when he was eight, Shiner puts it all together with the surety of someone that knows he has nothing to prove. Another one of those drummers that knows how to give everyone else some, Shiner's vision of big band is right in the moment and looking forward. There's nothing here a moldy fig wouldn't approve of as it's a wonderful, open sound that invites everyone into the tent. It's the kind of set that makes you want to hear more. Well done and quite the auspicious debut.

RUZZA-ZOTTARELLI/Glasses, No Glasses: The long running rhythm duo of Brazilian compatriots tosses caution to the wind on this set recorded in two days of jamming and improvising. With an elemental love of 70s funk at the core, Amanda Ruzza beats that bass within an inch of it's life to show just how much Bootsy she listened to growing up. With another like minded pal adding sax, piano and whatever else was in his bag of tricks for color, jam fans won't have to sit in the mud at a festival to enjoy this set. High energy throughout, this raises the bar for jam music.

MUD MORGANFIELD & KIM WILSON/For Pops: Morganfield has done a winning job of not performing in his pop's shadow but as we're staring down Muddy's 100th birthday, can you blame him for issuing a tribute to Muddy Waters, especially with label mate Kim Wilson signing on to be his harmonica foil? Echoes of Teresa's and the Checkerboard are resounding here quite mightily. A totally fun, classic west side Chicago romp, you can bet even Phil Chess is tapping his almost 100 year old toes to this set. The sonics even feel like an old Chess record. Blues fans have to rejoice here. Well done.

MIAMI JAZZ PROJECT: Getting ever more comfortable wearing the mantle of elder statesman of progressive jazz, Dave Liebman and his new pals serve up the next step in the progression from Miles to Weather Report with this sax heavy set that finds tearing it up his sax cohort, Arthur Barron, who soaks it all up like a sponge, but you can tell he's no sponge. A rollicking good time that flows with the kind of energy that powered Miles jams with John McLaughlin on the "Jack Johnson", this will really kick you into gear. Killer stuff that shows Lieb is roaring way to loud to be considered a lion in winter. Hot stuff.

AFRO BOP ALLIANCE/Angel Eyes: It comes from DC but it's loaded with Pan Caribbean vibes that make this tasty groovathon rollick into orbit. A return to jazz as party music, everyone here is blowing up a storm, the pan drums add to the festivities and the good times just don't stop. This is the kind of vacation music you wish you could run into on vacation as it's not afraid to keep driving with more than a vibe to get you to keep buying drinks. This is loaded with the kind of sounds that make summer be summer. A winner throughout.

Volume 38/Number 268
July 25 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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