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ALEXIS P. SUTER BAND/Love the Way You Roll: A graduate of Levon Helm's Midnight Rambles, this hot soul/blues belter has got the goods and is sure to blow you away as she has done august peerages diverse as B. B. King and Dan Ackroyd. With a vibe that's wise beyond her years, she channels all your faves form Koko Taylor to Carla Thomas with stops at all the hidden northern soul hidden treasures in between and then makes you forget them all. She's her own woman and she let's you know that in no uncertain terms. Hot stuff throughout.

FABIAN ALMAZAN/Rhizome: This is irrelevant, but there's something here I don't get. The label on the spine is shown as ‘Artistshare/Bluenote' with the Bluenote logo. What the deal? Is Bluenote making you schnoor your way on to the label these days? My goodness, Bob Lefsetz wrote about this kind of scenario a few years ago as an April Fool's Day joke column. If this is the nu way of the world, can't they at least restrict this to the wannabes and not the rising cats with talent? This set finds the piano man moving into art/jazz territory to bring Sunday afternoon jazzbos into the tent. Haunting to the point of being spooky sometimes, this classically modeled jazz-into-classical set is just what the highbrow, long hair, egghead has been clamoring for. Almazan has the chops to make this quite an intriguing listen.

ANN REYNOLDS-CLAVE GRINGA/Para Cuba Con Amor: A gringa from Seattle that's nuts for Latin jazz decides the write the check that let's her pay the cost to be the boss and listeners will think it was a good investment. Rounding up the hottest Latin players in Seattle to realize her vision, rest assured her vision is 20/20. Wonderful high octane stuff that not only captures the tropics, it's got sly humor, loads of chops and the kind of stuff that makes real fans swirling at the core. On the money throughout, Reynolds is certainly a card carrying gringa in her soul. Muy caliente!

BOMBAY RICKEY/Cinefonia: Oh, who doesn't love the explosion in a paint store madness that ensues when talented people get together for a blow out where they bring their chops but don't give a rip about anything else? A Hindi cartoon voice over actress with an Yma Sumac fetish and two Texas punks converge in New York to create Bollywood soundtracks for movies that don't exist. Following the lineage from tiki music through Friends of Dean Martinez to be wild stuff for multi culti millenials, this mushed up mash up is a gasser. Left of center throughout, this trio and their pals are as far from the mainstream as you can get without being pots and pans music, yet they hit the target again and again. If expecting the unexpected is your normal course of action, by all means check this winner out. Well done.

LAURA DREYER/Vida. Arte. Amor.: This Diva really turns the caliente up a few notches by taking her sax to Brazil and recording indigenously on the music she loves so much that her originals seem like they sprang from Belo Horizonte. This set makes us think Dreyer hasn't dated enough because it sounds like she spent an awful lot of time running along side some body of water with Stan Getz blasting in her ear buds when she wasn't deconstructing smooth jazz finding the key to turn to take it from being fuzak to fusic. While the album's title might spook you into thinking this is about a mid life crisis, the reality is that this music is the stuff that keeps you young. This is a set of utterly killer Latin jazz that hits the mark throughout.

FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS/Classic Albums Box: If record labels are so smart, how come they had to screw with Bob Gaudio's winning formula and have this crew do a folk album, a Dylan/Bacharach (?) covers album....why? Other than that, here's all 18 albums by the group, released en masse for obvious reasons, that show the American group that ‘single handedly held off the Beatles" in all their glory. The Joisey soul, the swagger, the hits, it's all here and it's all going to resonate long after the movie is on Netflix. When stuff can stand up after 50 years, you know it deserves to be called classic. Some of this stuff is still so ubiquitous, it hardly seems like it's fair to call it nostalgia.

CAMERON CARPENTER/If You Could Read My Mind: Hey, moldy figs; choke on it. Can showmanship and classical music co-exist? Pleeze! This far into his career, anyone that still thinks Carpenter is a gimmick act is just plain out of touch. Smartly capitalizing on the deconstruction of everything, Carpenter is about more than hijinks. He's loaded with chops, knowledge, and as this new release shows, multi-tiered depth. A pop/classical tour de force, Carpenter shows off all his skills with mind boggling abandon. Classical organ hasn't experienced so much sound and fury since Wendy Carlos first blew into town. All you have to do is sample this set, whether pop or classical fan, and you will be convinced that Carpenter is already a superstar. Killer stuff.

MONKEY JUNK/Tiger in Your Tank: This 2009 reissue that really got it started for this crew shows that while there's a lot for reasons to like these Canuck party animals, one of the best reasons is that they take a break from their originals to cut deeply into some beefy Chess meat. Blues rockers with more accent on the rock, this remastered expanded edition of the set that got them best new artist and other awards benefits from the extra love as the listener will too. Heavy duty roots stuff that isn't for eggheads, there's no need to wear an Elvis Costello hat around Billyburg to get down and boogie with this crew. Now this is what we call a worthy journey through the recent past. Hot stuff.

Volume 38/Number 269
July 26 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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