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AUCTION PROJECT/Slink: Amazing how a crack violin improviser can make a bunch of downtown jazzbos sound like runaways from "Riverdance". A left leaning downtown jazz set that lean's left in a different way than you might expect, Arturo O'Farrill finally gives that O' in his last name the work out it's been waiting for. Never different just to be contrary, this set works in ways you don't expect sitting down jazz to work. A head trip you don't need headphones for, this is wild stuff that keeps surprising you just when you're ready to hunker down. Check it out.

NANCY KELLY/B That Way: A swinging jazz singer whose heart lies somewhere near the pump of the B3 pedals, Kelly is an unabashedly proud woman of certain age that doesn't feel the need to hide anything as she proudly lets it all hang out. While everything about her rings with a touch of the 50s, there's nothing retro and no dust on her, she just loves to swing fearlessly and freely. A first class jazzbo set on a lot of levels, this is the kind of set only an indie could appreciate and do proper justice to. Swingingly well done from start to finish

ETTA BRITT/Etta Does Delbert: When she was touring with middle of the road country Dave & Sugar, who would have thought Britt was a white R&B singer that could impress stalwarts like Bekka Bramlett, Lee Roy Parnell and Delbert McClinton himself. Not as much of a McClinton greatest hits set as the title might imply, Britt delivers a fine job of a pretty whopping set of McClinton originals. Smoking blues mama stuff, this is a rollicking roadhouse set that gets the blood pumping like it hasn't in quite a while. Hot stuff.

MARIO CASTRO QUINTET/Estrella De Mar: Still a tyro that's new to the journey, Castro is energetic and brimming over with ideas that make him seem a littler wild at times, but in the end, he winds up in the right place. Starting out like some groovy, Latin cocktail jazz, Castro let's his progressive edge set sail so that he never fades into the background. That's quite alright as long as you know what you're getting into. This is some well done sitting down jazz that gets you moving in your seat. Creative and caliente, he continues to show he's off to a great start. Check it out.

HEAVY HAND/Northwoods Knives: So, with all the Ramones dead and off to be properly revered, who will be the nu Ramones? How about this trio. They even have a chick in the band. Short, skewed power pop from Milwaukee that will make you forget to beat on the brat as David Bowie schemes to steal your baby.

BODY FUTURES/Brand New Silhouettes: Math rock nerds like the kind that were coming out of Bloomington in the late 70s, this bunch is from Milwaukee with some nu power pop pedigrees under their belts. Left of center for the left of center.

ELIJAH OCEAN/Bring it All In: A nu folkie from Hudson Valley found something in the water as he can lay claim to being influenced by the best of folk and country rock without embarrassing himself in saying so. Loaded with familiar sounding touchstones that come together as a cohesive whole, Ocean can easily lay claim to the folkie mantle they were trying to lay on John Mayer out of the box all those years ago that just didn't ring true. Check it out, when Ocean goes on to being tabloid fodder and banging flavor of the month supermodels, we can say we were listening to him back when. Well done throughout.

SEAN NOONAN/Bruised by Noon: The progressive drummer continues his dive into the art world on his latest that's a solo drum record with an accompanying book. Continuing the stories he started telling on his 2012 release, the self confessed Irish griot tells tales handed down from the fifth century and turns them into pretty fair radio theater for the mind kind of stuff. Certainly a journey out of the ordinary.

Volume 38/Number 281
August 8, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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