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MATTHEW SQUIRES & the Learning Disorders/Where the Music Goes to Die: I suppose nobody will get too upset if I spill the beans on who this Austinite really is. He's the one of Loudon Wainwright's kids that went into the narrowly focused part of the family business that comments on the contemporary zeitgeist with a jaundiced eye. He might not have any dead skunks up his sleeve but he's an encapsulation of flashing the rest of the vibe 40 years forward. Sorry Rufus et al, but there's another kid that's just bubbled to the top you'll have to share the inheritance with. Check it out.

HOUSTON PERSON/The Melody Lingers On: You can't put them out to pasture when they still have a lot to teach us. Old school sax cat Person continues to turn out one late career valentine after another. 90 year old Rudy Van Gelder is still twisting the knobs and making it all sound great. This might be old school throughout but it's writing a bopping new chapter of old school. Breathing new life into some serious chestnuts, there's a lot of cats out there Person could still take to school. A delightful treat for the mainstream jazzbo, it just doesn't get any better than this.

RIK WRIGHT'S FUNDAMENTAL FORCES/Red: Can you be a guitar man from Seattle without being all wet? The Magic 8 Ball says all signs point to yes. The former rocker that has found his voice in a form of pomo jazz that has serious progressive leanings brings the heat in his second set named for colors. Late night club stuff, Wright is gleefully charting his own course that finds him finding a left leaning Miles groove for his sax man to dig deeper. Tasty stuff for those that like sitting down jazz but don't want to play something that doesn't give them room to bounce around.

LOW SOCIETY/You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Let's not go so far as to call this musical Velveeta but lead wailer Mandy Lemons has the smarts to put all the right moves in all the right places and serve up a killer slice of blues rock musical comfort food. A far cry from the cookie cutter crap on the network talent shows, musical comfort food is something reliable you can trust to taste good and be pretty good for you as it soothes the soul even as it riles you up. A sexy, savvy blues mama howler, Lemons leads her pals into the breach fighting for your right to party harder the Beastie Boys ever did. Killer stuff throughout.

PEACHES AND CRIME/Do Bad Things: How can you not love this stuff? A bunch of talented pomo hipsters that could probably make an easier, fatter living plying their talents to lower targets choose to deliver a pomo, retro vaudeville, hokum/hootchie coo jazz show that's a killer. Discreetly more literate that it wants you to know, this stuff is a blast throughout. The writing, the performances and the attitude will knock you way back on your heels before you even know what hit you. A good good time that colors way outside the lines, be sure to get on line on this. Killer stuff throughout.

JAMES CAROTHERS/Honky Tonk Land: Trust me on this one. If you've been feeling disenfranchised by country music since the turn of the century, drop everything and find this set online if they aren't carrying it at Walmart. A throwback to Waylon's early outlaw efforts, Carothers isn't about rebellion, he's about being free and no bullshit. A direct lineage to the country greats we loved to hear until country radio got together in 1990 and kind of banned them en masse, this guy isn't about product placements. He's about entertaining his fans and doing it right. If life was fair, this stuff would have been all over the CMA's this week. This is what the real country fan has been waiting for far too long. Killer stuff throughout hat just doesn't quit. Check it out.

BILL O'CONNELL & the Latin Jazz Allstars/Imagine: The savvy bandleader strikes again. You might not know what you are going to get but the O'Connell name is a reliable brand for the delivery of first rate listening. Keeping it mostly original, the cat with the Irish name and the ginger looks knows his way around some habanera con queso that'll keep gringos smiling all evening rather than wondering when Montezuma's revenge will hit. Smoking stuff where the piano man gives all the cats some which the make the most of, purists might think it's Latin lite but the rest of us enjoy the mild caliente quite nicely. Well done.

MARK MINCHELLE/Trinomial: Ever notice how in rock, it's kind of jive to be a tribute/homage band but in jazz, if you chose to play in the style of Sonny Stitt/Don Paterson and you know you're stuff, it's alright. This trio of vets has come together under the Stitt/Paterson moon, a moon that didn't shine all that long, and gets the vibe just right even when kicking it out on originals. Simply a smoking organ trio date that fills the hole in that particular sweet tooth nicely, this is one mighty fine good time.

CHRISTIAN FINGER/Ananda: This is a reminder of the kind of high octane world jazz you would get from the pals of John McLaughlin or Frank Zappa when they would wander off with their own solo deals. With an all star crew of up and coming jazzbos in tow, everyone here is having a blast backing this worldly drummer up. This is pressing the buttons to spur some world fusion nostalgia quite easily. Tasty stuff that's right in the world fusion bag.

TIM BENTON/Scenes From a Well-Spent Youth: Do you like magic? In an effort to forge the new, great American songbook Benton has taken some of the songs from the mid 60s to the mid 70s that all good hippie musos hated almost like nothing else. We're talking Sadaka, Paul Williams, Carole King and more. Benton also hit on staples like Paul Simon, Roger Cook, Smokey Robinson and a few others that hipsters dug. The magic is that Benton brings it all together into a nu cabaret set that makes you forget you hated a bunch of the hated stuff. A natural born grown up that knows how to make grown up music, this is a set adorned by simplicity that can even deliver the goods when Benton kicks it out on "Laughter in the Rain". All this needs is some candlelight and the best Napa has to offer for a pretty complete evening. And if he really likes stuff we hate, go easy on him, he's an operatic guy from New Zealand with a gift for performance. Solid stuff.

Volume 37/Number 7
November 7, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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