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NORTHWEST + 1/Minor Suggestions: You can only impart so much to young minds before you go nuts have have to stretch out on your own. That's what happened here when this bunch of teachers from the greater Seattle area needed to kick out the jams. Doubling as important jazz scenesters in the Pacific Northwest, they band together here and play like a band. Bringing the old school Blue Note blowing date vibe along, they tear it up mightily on this set of mostly originals that have a comfortable feel to them. Dim lights, VSOP and this set make for a pretty perfect listening evening. Check it out.

GIANT PANDA GUERILLA DUB SQUAD/Steady: With all those empty Kodak warehouses in Rochester, NY providing cheap rents for the asking, is it any wonder skanking, white boy reggae would plant a flag there? Skanking dub that brings the pop to reggae, this bunch sounds authentic as they are subdividing their own genre and staking the territory nicely. With studio help from 10 FT Ganga Plant in the mix, nu college kids have a sure fire soundtrack for firing up in the newly expanding legal climate for such. Infectiously fun stuff from fans on their way to being stars, this is wonderfully sunny music that brings a silly grin to your face with out trying all that hard. Check it out.

JEREMY BASS/tenant: If you don't look at the whole of this cat's resume, it's too easy to dismiss as an an arts council hustler. And you would be wrong. With well honed, skillful chops, he's learned his lessons and worked his way across the board in fine style. Showcasing himself as a nu singer/songwriter, the whole of him finds classical guitar training in Spain, winning OBIEs for his work here in national touring companies and much more. And after soaking it up, now he's giving it back. Putting all singer/songwriters masturbating with Pro Tools in their mother's basements to shame, Bass just blows you away. It's fine stuff anyone that ever had a soft rock sweet tooth needs to bite into. Well done.

DEE DANIELS/Intimate Conversations: Daniels is one of those jazz singers that's managed a four decade career without most of you ever hearing of her. Spending time in Europe and as part of the ensemble, no matter what the ensemble has been, it's only been recently she's been taking the spotlight. And speaking of taking the spotlight, this is an album of vocal/instrumental duets with some of New York's best jazzbos providing the various notes. With an adventurous set card that isn't easily pigeonholed, Daniels shows you what you've been missing and why insiders feel free to show up and show the love. This is a grand showcase for jazz vocal fans that want it as pure and close to the bone as possible. Hot stuff throughout.

TIM FERGUSON INSIDE/OUT/Hold That Thought: While this improv jazz trio isn't playing corporate music or mass market music, what the number and data crunchers will never understand is that if you don't start out with purity of emotion, all the frippery will get you no where. This trio started jamming for fun, found they had a vibe in common and let things go from there. This set came about because the day after they played their first gig, they went into the studio and recreated it. Eggheads are certain to enjoy this thoughtful, sitting down jazz date, but if you are in the right mood, you might put aside your preconceptions and give it a whirl just to see what it feels like. If classic ECM Charlie Haden is your bag, you're already halfway there.

DAN MORETTI & the Hammond Boys/Live at Chan's: Here's a teaser for you. Who would have known outside of Rhode Island that this former tyro who has done of good job of seeing the world with his sax over the last 50 years was pals with Duke Robillard and the two of them had a shared love of 60s soul jazz? Taking off his blues cap, Robillard brings his ax for this tribute to King Curtis, Gene Ammons, Reuben Wilson and Blue Note stalwarts where the sax, ax and B3 get into it and really tear it up. Smoking stuff throughout, this is one of those tribute dates that doesn't feel like a tribute date as the passion flows and a good time is had by all. If you're too young to know what's what from back in the day, this is a fine omnibus starting point to help you sort out the killer grooves that power so many samples. Fogeys need fear not, this bunch has AARP cards too. While they might play like they were there back in the day, there's no dust on them. Killer stuff throughout that really cooks.

DALAVA: Sure, it's easy to be a snot and say ‘yeah, more ancient, ethnic folk songs from Moravia' but that doesn't give the principles their due for having opera training, playing with Lou Reed and Marc Ribot and having pals that played with Yo Yo Ma and Anthony Braxton on board. Nutty? You bet. A progressive/historic release, why do I hear this as something turning up in the headphones of hipsters proving they are more out there than you. Easily adaptable as a soundtrack for a vampire movie, it's only a matter of time before this underscores role playing sessions where a nu gothic vibe is needed. And you thought they had fog on the moors in Scotland, huh? This set will teach you a thing or two about creating musical fog.

DEREK THOMAS & SKYLINE DRIVE/Beyond the Trestles: Thomas didn't just catch our attention with his auspicious, Americana debut, he caught Malcolm Burn's attention as well and Burn sits in the producer's chair this time around. Recalling the greatest Texas troubadours much more than this self professed surfer dude would preclude you to thinking, this is a killer dose of contemporary LA folk/country-rock as envisioned through a Shooter Jennings lens. The future of country/rock is alive and well and in good hands.

Volume 38/Number 310
September 6, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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