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CYNTHIA FELTON/Save Your Love for Me: The lovely Dr. Felton serves up another theme record, this time tipping the chapeau to Nancy Wilson. Keeping it classy throughout, Felton delivers the kind of date that honors both of them in the fine style they deserve. With a first call crew behind her, they play like that are playing with Wilson as opposed to paying tribute to her. With appreciative, insightful liner notes from Devra Levy, who has spent her share of time at the vortex of great jazz over many years, this jazz vocal set is as top shelf as you can get. A winner throughout for people who demand the real deal.

BRIAN LOPEZ/Static Noise: Sinister sounding power pop for those who have cut their cinematic teeth on scary movies and aren't really scared by them anymore. The shoe gaze factory is still turning them out with alacrity and precision.

LISA MILLS/I'm Changing: And here's the proof you don't grow up around Muscle Shoals without some of it rubbing off on you. Mississippi, her launch pad, and Alabama are closer than you think, especially when there's nothing in between for miles. Mills refashions parts of her 2005 release giving it the contemporary touches it deserves and it blows the roof off the sucker once and for all. A white soulful blues momma who's sound doesn't recognize color lines, Mills is a treasure from the south. Without affectation, this is something that could have come from Stax or Malaco in their primes. No Janis manqué here, to miss Mills is to miss a lot. Killer stuff throughout form one of the real deals.

OMER AVITAL/New Song: There's a lot of good bass players out there. There's a lot of great and soon to be great bass players out there, and they don't all have to aspire to be Mingus or Jaco. Then, there's the ones the march to the beat of their own thumping, and Avital is one of them. When done right, like they are here, the results are spectacular. A solid jazzbo through and through, he does a fine job of taking all the notes we've heard before and rearranging them to bring his crew to attention in fine style. This is certainly the work of a fully arrived pro that knows the moves and how to apply them. Killer stuff contemporary jazzbos looking for a new kick will love.

FRANK KIMBROUGH/Quartet: 30 years into tinkling the ivories as a pro, Kimbrough decides it's finally time to take off the gloves and deliver a traditional jazz quartet date. Not really, but if he wants to hear it that way, who are we to say other wise. The instrumentation might be traditional, but the playing is as progressive as ever. And, he's joined by pros that know the dance well. Tasty stuff for left field jazzbos that love the joyful noise aspect of jazz when it colors way outside the lines.

MEDIAEVAL BAEBES/Of Kings & Angels: The funny thing about the Baebes is they give off a vibe that's closer to Siouxie and the Banshees than Pentangle, but when the open their mouths, it seems like they took singing lessons from Jacquie McShee. Perhaps the ultimate middle period Christmas album, they work their way through a set that shot to the top of the classical charts upon release in England last year and shows those of us stateside just why this year with this domestic release. Sounding straight from the heart with no contrivance, this is the kind of killer Christmas record you can play all year when you need some soothing sounds that know your needs better than you do. Killer stuff throughout.

NATHAN JAMES/Hear Me Calling-Natural Born That Way: Well this wasn't what I expected. I thought James would be some guitar slinging jazz cat. Missed the mark on that one! James is a roots and blues cat in the urban white boy mold of John Koerner, loaded with ragged but right, heartfelt soul from the wrong end of Highway 61. James releases a double album here, one set with his one man band style folk blues, the other set an amped up version of his folk blues with that road house edge. Wild stuff throughout and a veritable feast of white boy blues no matter where your appetite lies. If you've ever wailed a hobo down a lining track, this is the stuff you've been searching for since. Left of center but right in the middle of the target it's aiming for, this is right stuff throughout.

THE GROMBLE: Bubbling under for quite a while , this Cali crew finds it's métier in the melding of alt.sunshine pop, left of center lyrics and electronica birthed in the 80s. A wildly heady brew, this is the kind of stuff you need for laying in the sun on those left of center, off kilter days when it's best just to let the world go by.

Volume 38/Number 340
October 6, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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