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GINGER BERGLAND & SCOTT WHITFIELD/Solitary Moon (Sing the Johnny Mandel Songbook): Both members of the current edition of The Modernaires, their old school chops are in tact as they doff the cap to the legend of Johnny Mandel inviting comparisons to Jackie & Roy. With a full band of spare no expense, first call jazzbos in tow, what's not to like? This is an expertly formed entertainment that was designed to give you a well needed break rather than break down walls. Strictly charming throughout, this date has all the right moves in all the right spots and is a tonic for jaded jazz vocal ears looking for both a kick and some relief. Hot stuff throughout.

PHIL HAYNES/No Fast Food: A drummer leads this trio but with Dave Liebman on board, commentators are freely calling this a sax trio. Call it what you will but every one from jazzbos to longhairs is calling it killer stuff. Already drawing comparisons to Elvin Jones' Joe Farrell trio, this double set of live recordings delivers the goods in fine style. Stretching out and exploring all the nooks and crannies, this feels like the kind of set all players on board had been itching to make and needed to have escape. If you want to treat your ears to a jazz tour de force by pros that couldn't play a false note if they tried, this is a wonderful next stop to land at as its thinking mans jazz at the top of its game. Check it out.

ROTEM SIVAN TRIO/For Emotional Use Only: Now that you've gotten used to the idea that Julian Lage is your pick for next great guitarist, along comes Sivan with his bid to be the next, next great guitarist. A creative spark plug that still in his taking off phase, he astounds nad amazes as well as put sin sly humor whenever possible (the album title is a great record biz in joke). He might not be about flash but he certainly has lot sof fire, even at his coolest. Check it out before his name is on everyone's lips. Hot stuff.

RICK LANG/That's What I Love About Christmas: Many try to write new Christmas classics, but Lang, who has earned his spurs in bluegrass and southern gospel, brings the sense of wonder needed to pull this off. Of course, you don't know if something is classic until it stands the test of time, but some stuff just gives you that feeling it will go the distance. A swinging, spare no expense recording, this is a must if you want something new and different for the holidays that still captures the holiday feeling. A winner throughout.

ED STONE/King of Hearts: Another doctor that was inoculated by jazz early on has found enough security in his vocation to chase the muse of his avocation in a way that his credibility at either is unimpeachable. Using his healing hands to turn in some smooth jazz that has the same effect, Michigan could use more of his calming efforts and effects. Tasty stuff with a feel that reminds you it's five o'clock somewhere in the world, King and his ax know all the right moves. A real find for smooth jazz fans wanting to be ahead of the curve.

JERRY TILITZ MEETS JOE GALLARDO/An Exciting Jazz Trombone Summit: An ex-pat now living in Germany, the bone man played with all the old school greats and has the blowing session gene on his DNA. One listen here proves that evidence. Sounding right in the pocket of any great blowing session from the late 50s, even if you aren't familiar with any of the cats on board here, they know what it is to share a bandstand with any of your faves of the past and get it right while being toe to toe. Hot stuff whether kicking it out on originals or covers, this is one of those times when the band is smoking and you can feel the audience that should have been there listening in rapt attention and applauding at the proper intervals. Killer stuff throughout.

JON DAVIS TRIO/Live at the Bird's Eye: He's played with Bob Weir, is most famous for being Jaco's side kick and has played piano for..oh, about everybody. Name ring a bell yet? Here the still youngish vet plays it old school on a set of standards that he and his trio apply liberal doses of their own special sauce to. The playing isn't far out. This is classic piano jazz trio work, just with that something extra only a pro knows how to apply. Easy rolling stuff that's not to be confused with cocktail jazz, Davis and pals are on the money throughout here. Well done and a real treat to hear.

NOVOX/Over the Honeymoon: Look out. Here's the latest from a bunch of funky jazz Frenchies that find their inspiration in 70's blaxpliotation pics. Having ground up and eaten all the James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes and Roy Ayers soundtracks from that era they could find, they digested the vinyl without regurgitating it making the craziest contemporary funk you could imagine. They even break down and just flat out give George Clinton some. If the James Brown movie didn't give you the soul power you want and need, lookahere. These Frenchies are no longer content to wait in the wings. Since they're a bunch of white boys, let's call this white hot (just to be funny).

Volume 38/Number 289
August 16, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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