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CHRISTINA RUSNAK/Chat Chill Highline: Very strange. Rusnak has all the trappings of an art chick but her music doesn't give you the impression that she'd throw it all over for an old guy with a boat and a pocketful of diamonds. Even with museum commissions, Rusnak makes the kind of cogent jazz you'd expect from a young lion trying to maintain his cred while trying to go commercial. Might this might be left leaning, sitting down jazz, it's also real jazz that uses it's creative edge for a weapon of good. She's got something special on the ball and we like what we hear. Check it out.

OLD STYLE SEXTET: We always dig it when a bunch of teachers get together and don't play like a bunch of teachers. It means the next generation is being taught by cats that can play either smooth or with rough edges and give the music feeling either way. From the sound of things, I'm not exactly sure why they came up with the name Old Style unless my uncertainty comes form expecting them to play a lot of Dixieland with a name like that. Old Style in the sense of fostering the classic Blue Note blowing/jamming vibe? That would be as accurate as they are right in that pocket. An energetic set with as much Impulse in the mix as well, this is a smoking post bop set that just doesn't let up or let you down. A solid work throughout.

PAUL JONES/Short History: With a newly minted masters degree under his arm, sax man Jones is tackling the big apple jazz scene with a ferocity and ubiquity that brands him as the young lion on the march that he is. Part of the new crop of hard hitting players intent on leaving their mark before too much time passes, Jones has creativity up to his eyeballs and unleashes it with a modern, understated hipness that makes you come to the party rather than him bringing it to you. First class sitting down jazz for forward thinking ears.

RON DiSALVO/Songs for Jazz Legends: DiSalvo's done a fine job of scaling the impossible. Turning in a set of all originals paying tribute to his influences, which you can pretty well pick out from the pun inspired song titles, he's assembled a vocal quartet that resembles Lambert Hendricks Ross and has them fronting a bunch that can play, including "Kind of Blue" alumnus, Jimmy Cobb in the drum chair. With a groovy, swinging flow to the whole proceedings, this swinging teacher hiding out in Kalamazoo put on such a show that this live date inspired a standing ovation from the audience. You might even join in as well, corny as it may seem. This is the long overdue release of a really swell date that's been hiding in the can for far too long. Check it out.

JOANNE TATHAM/Out of My Dreams: And when the elements line up right...! Producer Mark Winkler rounds up some killer jazzbos to swing behind this thrush that recreates the golden age of boite broads like it's on her DNA. Taking familiar songs that haven't been beaten to death by the recent vintage jazz divas digging in the crates to places you never expected, your ears are sure to appreciate this team of fresh horses. Tatham has the chops to go all the way and jazz vocal fans will enjoy this set the freely colors outside the lines because it doesn't recognize the lines in the first place. Well done.

COLETTE MICHAAN/Incarnate Encarna: With her world jazz chops and cred firmly in tact, Michaan tackles her third solo set, a personal, sonic impressionistic set that fuses Latin jazz and Afro Cuban vibes into her own gumbo that serves up meditations on life's ups and downs. She doesn't swing for the fences here so much as have a musical dialog with you on a Sunday afternoon over espresso at the Hotel Nacional. Easy going and deep, this is one of those special gems that you have to sit over and savor enjoying it's flute filled goodness.

KOKO JONES/Who's That Lady?: Ditching the world jazz vibe that powered her past solo releases, this time around Jones focuses on the 70s/80s funk that shaped her vision of music and is loaded with grooves she loved the first time around. Powering percussion throughout, which she hasn't abandoned, this is stopping point to look at and appreciate the past and all the opportunities it opened for her. Fun funk that gives you all the right moves.

DENNIS ROGER REED/Songs About Tractors and Stuff: This is a left field album for people who never understood why Gu8y Clark and Townes Van Zandt weren't chart topping artists. Like Roy Wylie Hubbard to Jerry Jeff Walker, Reed is doing his own thing whether original or cover delivering the goods for people that really like it out on the real back 40. Undisciplined stuff to be enjoyed by the unruly.

THE ROYS/Bluegrass Kinda Christmas: With the release of their first Christmas album, The Roys continue to show they can do no wrong. Mixing Buck Owens fluff with Merle Haggard early 70s depression era tunes with traditional stuff with originals with loads the Roy special sauce, this set is a new holiday tradition. Blowing the dust off the seasonal music chestnuts, this energetic, inspired set will blow your ears open to the possibilities. Killer stuff that adds new flavors to the holiday.

SUPER HI-FI/Yule Analog V. 1: This dub crew's first Christmas record sounds like something Lurch would listen to around the holidays. Not that we mean that in a bad way but how toasted to you have to be to really sink into a skanking dub of something like "We Three Kings"? Expect this to be wildest ride you'll take this musical season. Creativity abounds and a good time is had by all.

Volume 37/Number 19
November 19, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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