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MARK GUILIANA/Beat Music-The Los Angeles Improvisations: Here's a little fourth stream music for you from the in demand drummer that wants to keep rewriting the book on improv, progressive jazz. Setting it up old school, he and some pals hit the studio for one afternoon for recording with nothing going on behind the scenes beside maybe a little Teo Maceroing. The uninitiated might go so far as to think this is the scratch tracks for some new rap record---that's how basic it gets sometimes.

MARK GUILIANA/My Life Starts Now: It's kitchen sink time as Meshell Ndegeocello delivers the spoken word over this avant jazz that finds a lot of it's roots in old Art of Noise 12 inch singles played at the wrong speed. Kind of what you might expect if Manfred Eicher was 20 years old and starting a cool jazz label in his dorm room today, this is the kind of out there stuff that gets mainstream footing tomorrow or the day after. Head music for sure, it's mighty minimal and mysterious.

LARRY FULLER: Piano man to a wide range of jazzbos from Ray Brown to John Pizzarelli, Fuller knows how to kick it out simply and elegantly in a piano jazz trio format. The set card might not hold nay surprises but he execution will perk your ears up throughout. Tasty stuff that does nothing more than show off a pro at the top of his game. Impossible not to like, the straight ahead jazzbo has a winner in their ears here. Check it out.

DIE ALPS!: Indie pop that finds it's roots in the hills of Austria before relocating to the states serves up an amalgam of styles that's kind of a goulash but isn't a hot, brown mess. Standing on the corner of where Beach Boys meet Iggy Pop, this is how the kids are mashing it up these days when they need buzzy music to give them a buzz.

KEVIN KERN/Always Near: If you know enough about Kern's music to have an opinion about it, chances are it's always a good one. One of those crafty piano man/instrumentalists, he knows how to consistently make winning instrumental music without ever crossing the line into easy listening dreck. With ten albums already out on Real Music, this is the right time to take a look back and group some of his best into a themed collection. This one focuses on his romantic side and it really ought to be packaged with some candles and some wine better than Two Buck Chuck. Lovely stuff that plays out all too quickly, this really is the best of the best, romance file. Well done.

FAYSSOUX/I Can't Wait: The preferred back up vocalist to everyone in roots music before there even was roots music, Ms. McLean now wears her married name as she steps up to the front and center mic showing she had the stuff to command the spotlight all along. With a sound that's as down home and honest as everyone she's ever worked with, whether picking on stuff from pals, doing originals or picking up a guitar, this is a classic back porch record for contemporary times. Singer/songwriter and then some, this is the long over due real deal from a star that's finally getting the chance to shine brightly on her own. Check it out.

MARKEY BLUE/Hey Hey: Not exactly Stax retro, not exactly Janis manqué, not exactly anything you've heard before, this glimpse into the future of blues/R&B builds nicely on what's come before and doesn't exactly take it to Mars but does deliver one helluva lift off. With a well tempered blues belting momma fronting an r&b show band that knows how to add the grit without scraping knuckles, this is a fine example of taking it to the next level of the game and keeping it in the moment. If you've got any love for soul, you can't resist this modern version/vision that really delivers a load of grins per mile. On top of all that, the songs are all originals and they smoke! Hot stuff throughout.

MOIRA SMILEY & VOCO/Laughter Out of Tears: What do you want me to do, lie to you and say Smiley isn't an art chick? I will tell you this, she does a fine job of finding the dividing line between creative and weird and manages to keep coming down on the right side of the line. Creating a choir out of people all over the world sending her mp3s of their contribution to the whole you have in front of you now, she has the smarts to make it work right. If you've ever dug chanting, the hippie side of new age, high tech folk, deep world music etc etc etc, this is a natch for you. Nascent suburban divorcees will dig this for yoga as well. There's something wonderfully wild about this that makes it compelling even if any of those descriptors don't do it for you. All this and somehow she works a Woody Guthrie classic into the mix that doesn‘t sound like any version you‘ve ever heard of it before. Do yourself a favor, you've got to hear it to believe it. Wild stuff that really grabs your attention and doesn't let go.

Volume 38/Number 292
August 19, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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