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SKYLA BURRELL BAND/Blues Scars: This crew is a bunch of road warriors that don't feel the need to make it pretty. They do it right, but they have a no frills electric blues attack that lights up the night with their non-stop touring. Sassy, sexy and full of fire, this crew rallies behind their leader mightily and all keep the party going in fine style. This is one white girl that knows what the blues are about.

HELLO STRANGERS: And here we have a pair of sisters whose grandpa sang with Doris Day yet are hip enough to get John Leventhal to co-write something for them with producer Jim Lauderdale. The perfect pair to make post modern down home music as their influences go beyond those just stated to also intersect with the Carter Family and Jerry Garcia off shoot projects. Not sounding like something processed through a meat grinder, their Austin by way of Pennsylvania and back sound is folkie/folk-rock supreme that sounds like it's from the heart throughout. A total antidote and tonic for jaded ears that need some organic nourishment, this set is breathing proof the heartland still has plenty of heart. Killer stuff.

JAMES LEARY/Together: Count ‘em down; together means players on board like Joe Henderson, George Cables, Ken Nash, Eric Reed, Billy Higgins and more, all showing up to make the solid point that this bass playing jazzbo knows his stuff and can lead an august crew like this. An original solidly in the tradition of the original bass players that pushed jazz forward, his original compositions will transfix you as well as past masters did. Solid stuff that goes the distance with power to spare.

MARC POMPE/Monk's Dream: An Italian kid of a certain age playing big band stuff with his boyhood pals from Chicago's Taylor Street? Of course we have no problem with doing some cheerleading. A vet of the real Jilly's from his big apple sojourn 40 years ago, even if this date isn't all Sinatra, this fan of Monk ain't no manqué. A real swinger throughout that almost sounds like it's a lost treasure from back in the day, Pompe and pals still deliver the octane to keep the party in high gear well into the night. Fun stuff that finds him in the company of 11 Chicago first call jazzbos, Pompe does an amazing job of breathing new life into the hoariest chestnuts that you'd thought you'd long outgrown. A solid winner of a set for anyone that just likes to swing whether a jazzbo or not.

JIMMY CARPETNER/Walk Away: A big part of the blues canon is about the gal that done him wrong. Carpenter says these songs came out of an intense period of looking for love in all the wrong places. If the sassy gal on the cover walking down the railroad tracks is any indication of the ones that got away and did him wrong, at least we get a sense they did it right and that certainly was the impetus for a bunch of these tracks. A Nawlins mainstay, Carpenter and pals know the meaning of modern blues and set the record straight here. Smoking, sizzling stuff that's going to be getting a lot of attention, here's to more heartbreak to keep us entertained. Well done.

ROSEANNA VITRO/Clarity: Luckily for us all, the great vocalist/pianist is at a point in her life and career where she can tackle a project and say ‘yeah, so?' to any detractors. Following up her Randy Newman tribute with a tribute to Clare Fischer's Latin side, we join her in saying "yeah, so?' to any detractors. A muso insider fave, Fischer wasn't always the easiest thing to follow, but he was often the most rewarding. Vitro has captured that with ease. Bringing back her Newman band to show they can sway with the breeze as well, this is a killer set for adult tastes that remember when music was music instead of product. A winner throughout by a winner throughout. And by the way, Sara Caswell's violin grabs us by those ear hairs that need trimming once again.

THIERRY DAVID/Hypnosis: It takes a special talent to make a series of albums that are dreamscapes and soundscapes for the mind and David has the uncanny ability to do so. Taking his time between releases might be one of his secret weapons. A lovely set of musical vignettes for the over burdened mind that may have forgotten how to let go a bit, the electronic maestro comes through again for adults that want to chill, whether or not on the massage table. Do not attempt to use heavy equipment while listening. ;) Check it out.

SCREAMING HEADLESS TORSOS/Code Red: Oh, like you're not fascinated by a Guggenheim fellow that makes insane music and hangs with Bernie Worrell? I haven't heard such crazy stuff and seen such a wild guest list since I stopped checking out Uptown Horns. There's no limits here as this road map takes you to places you've only seen in dreams--the kind you have after eating too much salsa. Totally out there and ready for those who like in nice and rough.

Volume 38/Number 324
September 20, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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