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ALI BEY/My Finest Hour: Detroit is sending more funk our way. An updated take on power trio fusion, the guitarist certainly has fire flying out of his finger tips. Zesty stuff for kids that wonder what it is their pop's were digging so much back in the day, now they have a sound to call their own and keep it in the tradition. Tasty stuff that'll get the old bones shaking as well, Bey's chops are well honed leading to a result that never lets you down. Well done.

FRENCH CHRISTMAS/various: Putting their curation skills to good use once again, the Putumayo gang lines up a French Christmas for you that starts out as old school as recorded music and ends up with as contemporary indie as you can get deep into a niche. And they cover all the ground from start to finish and in between with their usual ace skill. A delightfully out of the ordinary way for most people to spend Christmas, these sounds will open your ears to the myriad possibilities that Christmas music holds once you go beyond the pale. A real treat of a collection.

CAFÉ DEL MUNDO/various: This singer/songwriter collection from around the globe might not outwardly have anything for gringos, but that doesn't mean you have to move along. Tightly programmed so that the listener finds flow where there really shouldn't be any, this sounds like spending the day at all your fave ethnic restaurants when they have all their A list talent on parade. You don't have to know what they are talking about to appreciate the music and the music of the voice. A solidly stacked collection that can easily make you feel worldly without the airfare expense or the packing. Check it out.

YOGA LOUNGE/various: From Jai Uttal and Donna DeLory to a bunch of ethnic cats you never heard of, here's a contemporary collection of meditation music that's not your momma's meditation music. Not really straying far from the origins, this set adds what it takes to keep contemporary ears in tow. Well stacked throughout, this set is sure to be the sonic oasis the stressed out crave. Well done.

JAMILA FORD/Deep End: With a bunch of high profile back up work and a lot of ambition, it's hard to keep someone from stepping out on their own. Ford does just that with a ep of modern takes on jazz classics. A nice sophisticated snapshot that leaves you waiting for more, this is the kind of jazz presentation to keep millenials in the tent for a few more rounds. A very nice teaser for more.

ALLEGRA LEVY/Lonely City: Prepare to be bowled over. A 24 year old jazz diva in the making, she's writing her own classical songbook and delivering it all like a classic. With influences that range from the classic broads to the finger popping side of Tom Waits, this is a throwback to when albums made a statement for the thrushes and singles weren't that critical. Levy makes a statement here. Well wise beyond her years, this has to be the grooviest, snappiest album since Waits' delivered "Nighthawks at the Diner" even if they have nothing more than a spiritual connection. Bridging the gap between classic and millennial with a nativism that can't be taught or learned, Levy is the new pin up girl for cool. Killer stuff throughout.

Volume 38/Number 53
December 23, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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