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DANN ZINN/Shangri La: This trio date is the bastard child of what would happen if ECM crashed into Adventure Music and made chamberish trio jazz with an edge that you can't always put your finger on because it hops around profusely and proficiently. The smart, well traveled sax man leads a trio of Peter Erskine and Chris Robinson and it's a game raiser all the way around. A stretching out, off the clock kind of date, this is not so easy jazz that is easy to take. A high water mark for sitting down jazz fans that like to have some swinging elements in the mix, it's just plain fun by some real pros. Check it out.

FO'REEL/Heavy Water: Nawlins funk meets Bay area greasy jam blues with a cool bear on the cover to tie it all together. Since one of these cats played with Dr. John for 40 years, it fair to say this is a direct link to 70s, all night jams---but this cuts the boring parts out. Rollicking stuff that keeps the party going all night long, this is not a journey back in time but it is a text book look at how it used to be. A wonderful, wild ride that careens through all your fave night haunts in fine style.

MARK ELF/Returns 2014: Could it be the reason I've liked this guitar man so much in the past is because he's played with a bunch of cats I would like to/would have liked to meet/met and I was feeling that vibe? Hmmm? A nicely smoking jazz guitar set that finds him in the company of David Hazeltine, Peter Washington and Lewis Nash, it doesn't matter if he's kicking it out on comfy feeling originals or well worn covers, this is the kind of date that makes great company for that glass of single malt in front of you. A winner throughout, this is the kind of date that makes you glad there's stuff like Kickstarter around to pick up the slack for those who need something out of the ordinary.

MIHO NOBUZANE/Jazz Loves Brazil: What were you saying? You're looking for a sassy, jazz pianist that can kick it out old school club style with enough funk to get Pretty Purdie off the bench to swat the skins for her? Nobuzane heard the call and showed up ready to go. Kind of a pomo version of Brazilian jazz is flying out of her skillful finger tips with a result that lifts you up and takes you away. Tasty throughout, her playing is a certified breath of fresh air. Fun listening that never feels like listening at all as it plugs into you rather than asking you to plug into it, samba flavored jazz doesn't get any better than this. Well done.

LARRY CORBAN/The Corbanator: Back for a second go around with his pals from his solo debut, Corban adds the record making process to his skill set and checks in with a more accomplished recording than his impressive debut. A strikingly solid set for guitar fans weaned on Pat Martino as well as Ma and Pa Havishnu, his playing might not make your ears bleed but you might often feel like you're jumping out of your skin. A brilliant progressive player that knows how to hit all the right notes, Corban is blazing a mighty trail here for jazz guitar fans to follow. Hot stuff.

CHELSEY GREEN & the Green Project/Green Room: The DC fiddler that grew up around funk and went on to study classical music brings the funk in the end as you can't beat the funk. Whether down with slow jams, turning it up in an almost Subramanian style or digging down into the chestnuts, this fiddling femme has set her sights on stun--and that's just what she does. A DIY recording with more on the ball than you'd expect, Green and her pals have that hit to all fields versatility that they might have found in protogenitors like Jean Luc Ponty. Smoking stuff throughout.

ANNA WILSON/Jazzbird-Songbird: Dressing like a dame, sounding like a canary and knowing some old school songs that haven't been beaten to death by would be thrushes, Wilson sets a mood and a vibe as well as a sound and attitude that pull itself together as a show all within itself. Sophistication with a wink is Wilson's main métier and she knows how to deliver it as a real gasser. Serving up jazz vocals even a non-jazz vocal fan could love, it's not quite cabaret, not quite jazz vocal and certainly not easy listening. It's cool. Wilson has proven herself as a songwriter in the past, here she proves herself as an entertainer. Well done.

ALICIA OLATUJA/Timeless: A young singer that seemingly appeared out of the blue to sing at Obama's inauguration, Olatuja has that wonderful, unaffected set of pipes that can't deliver anything but purity and precision that feels as natural as a clear spring a million miles away from toxic waste dumping. Moving easily between originals and covers, Olatuja will impress the most jaded jazz vocal ears looking for new kicks. A mind blowing winner throughout.

Volume 38/Number 330
September 26, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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