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TOURE-RAICHEL COLLECTIVE/Paris Session: Political polar opposites, the two cats behind this set prove that music is the universal language as they seem to brush everything aside to show their happenstance debut was no fluke. Smart world jazz that's aimed squarely at the yupscale, this bright set is loaded with chops that hook you right from the start. Western ears will not have a hard time dealing with what has sprung here from the troubled middle east. Smoking stuff for adult ears, this is a real cooker. Check it out.

TROKER/Crimen Sonoro: Zappa went down to Mexico, got mistaken for Zapata and this was the result. Just kidding, sort of. But, if you take Zappa's 60s stuff, run it through a contemporary genre blender based in Mexico and let things play their natural course out, this crazy mixed up mash up would be the result. At once sinister and inviting, it's crazy, left field music for left field times where the disenfranchised need some franchising. Totally crazy contemporary stuff for wide open ears looking to appreciate something vastly out of the ordinary.

KEN THOMSON & SLOW/FAST/Settle: We didn't even plan it this way, but what a good day around here for Russ Johnson picking up two reviews in one day. A dyed in the wool jazz experimenter that knows his way around modern jazz and modern classical, this is what party music sounds like for sitting down jazzbos. Swinging in a way tradition will find irreverent, Thomson and crew just like to tear it up downtown style, without the preciousness---they just wail. Hard hitting stuff for the devotedly left of center.

DEVON ALLMAN/Ragged & Dirty: The forgotten Allman kid that didn't meet Gregg until he turned 16 has made his own way and now is stomping it out solo after graduating from the Royal Southern Brotherhood. The familial resemblances are evident from looks to voice but anyone who has ever yelled ‘boogie' at a big rock show won't be as involved with that as they will the boogie. You could say he's got southern blues/rock stamped on his DNA but it doesn't mitigate the fact that he delivers. Solid stuff real rockers will celebrate with a bucket of brews in the American night.

JOHNNY TAYLOR/Tangled Up in Plaid: What's cool about Taylor is that he brings the punk rock/get in the bus energy to his comedy. He uses that to hide the fact that he's got a sharp wit that really cuts to the bone while it cuts to the chase. Taking the regular switch back formula to alt.comedy extremes, you'll have to listen to this more than one time to get the stuff you didn't hear while you were laughing the first time around. More than ready to go blasting out of his NoCal stomping grounds, this guy is a laugh riot waiting to explode in a head phone near you soon. A laugh riot throughout.

JOHANNES ENDERS/Mellowtonin: The sax man that likes calling his record titles jokes about vitamins is back with a second set by his latest influential crew. A solid post bop work out by a cat that sounds like he's explored the church basements in Germany and found the tunnels that lead to coffee shops, this is a tasty set of muscular, angular jazz that has more beats per ounce than his last set. Upbeat progressivism? It's pretty cool. Dandy stuff for people that like their wailing presented by a crew of real pros.

RUSS JOHNSON/Still Out to Lunch!: It looks like Frank Zappa isn't the only Eric Dolphy fan out there. Dead for 50 years, Dolphy is fading into the rear view mirror like so much other stuff (including Zappa), but Johnson and his progressive jazzbo pals remember and leave their finger prints on Dolphy's classic. Originally a one time assemblage of pros kicking it out, Johnson has brought the same vibe and like minded crew to this freshening of the original. Still wild after all these years, this remains one of the classics of civil rights jazz and you can feel it's call for freedom still today. A first class realization of a classic.

Volume 38/Number 328
September 24, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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