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KATIE THIROUX/Introducing: Leave it to a drummer to spot a real bass player ahead of the rest of the public. Jeff Hamilton could tell Thiroux had more than looks going for her as she can play sing and write with the best of them, so he produced her debut. A nicely, lightly swinging set that sends the pendulum from the 30s to the present, Thiroux might have a masters in jazz but she hasn't let it cramp her style. A smart debut that deserves your attention.

IGOR PRADO BAND/Way Down South: How do you keep traditional, electric post war blues relevant for younger ears that have only picked cotton out of vitamin bottles? Of course, send it to a kid in South America that has a passion for it. With a young voice leading a hard core electric attack, there just some special sauce in here that makes it all work---for any age fan. Tasty stuff that comes together in ways you wouldn't expect, there must be a reason why almost anybody associated with the label showed up to leave their finger prints on the session. Wild stuff that isn't an homage and exists squarely in it' s own time zone. Well done.

MY OWN HOLIDAY/Reason to Bleed: With several guitar/drum bands already leading the way on the charts for this stripped down rock, this duo has put it together far from the maddening crowd and might actually reach those through the underground that feel the commercial groups that have made it are too commercial and are looking for an underground alternative. No holds barred thunder thrash from just two cats, the disenfranchised that don't care about tabloid websites have a voice here.

MIKE HENDERSON BAND/If You Think It's Hot in Here...: A vet that's done it all over the last 30 years goes back to his roots by banging out amped up white boy blues on Monday nights at the Bluebird in Nashville. This set distills where he's at these days, he might only look like he needs those Monday night gigs but it's really a chance for him to kick it out on stuff he loves with no overseers looking over his shoulder. This is certainly a sample of how he knows how to keep the party going all night long. Hot stuff.

JON LUNDBOM & Big Five Chord/Jeremiah: I get a kick out the way the Hot Cup bunch are like Mexican food---with only five ingredients, they manage to serve the contents a dozen different ways. MOPDTK are regrouped here behind Lundbom to let him indulge in his late 60s AACM fantasies. Sounding like an Actuel record that was never released, the gang appropriates 60s free jazz the same way a bunch of white boys have taken over the blues these days. Crazy stuff that guarantees an amphetamine rush.

LAWSON ROLLINS/Traveler: A new visit from the super tasty acoustic guitarist is always an event. Playing with the passion and energy that makes his visits special, here we find him visiting points around the globe with a wildly varied crew that only adds to the set's depth. He might seem off the radar but in particle world he's a superstar with as many You Tube hits as those in the star maker machinery. Proof there's great adult listening out there, you really have to take the journey with this traveler. Acoustic music doesn't get any hotter than this.

CHARLES RUGGIERO/Boom Bang, Boom Bang!: When a peer like Steve Gadd tips the cap to another drummer, even if you don't know who he is, you pay attention. From tyro to old pro in 30 short years, Ruggiero finally moves his name and chops to the fore and shows he's a jazzbo first as he's one of those drummers that knows how to give everyone some. Going back to his roots, he delivers a snazzy set that'll fill your CTI sweet tooth for something in the pocket and new. This is a tasty date that was more than a long time in the making. Check it out.

MARCUS PARSLEY/Sunday Strollin': It almost seems like the majors never got the point. A big reason jazz was always marginalized is that the music never reached for hit singles, happy to make groovy albums with chops to spare and a vibe that spread out over half an hour or more making a complete statement. And you fit that into top 40 how? The trumpeter's debut is a delightful throw back to those groovy albums that gave you everything you needed to have a good time without approval of the roaring masses. A solid swinger that can mix the classics with his originals into a seamless mix that keeps your head bobbing, if this doesn't put a smile on your face and a tap in your toe, nothing will. Check it out.

PASCAL BOKAR/Guitar Balafonics: The guitar cat that understands the connection between Timbuktu and the Mississippi delta comes in with a new set in which he makes the wood speak. Bringing a different flavor to a bunch of jazz standards as only he can do with his insights and theories, the world jazz fan has a definite new kick here as Africa gives Nawlins a real run for the money in claiming to be the birth place of jazz. Intriguing and interesting throughout, this is living music, not a document for a pedagog to hang his hat on. Check it out.

PI JACOBS/Hi-Rise Ranch: A mixed race child of hippies with a lot of stickers on her suitcase, Jacobs obviously had a glimpse of the future before anyone knew what it would be. Working fiercely indie but backing it up with chops that have given her paychecks from deep within the belly of the beast, when she calls her music soul driven
Americana, don't stand there scratching your head when you should be opening your ears. All the poseurs that think they are deep ought to get off Kickstarter for a while until they learn and digest the lessons this over achiever has packed in these grooves about where the future of mainstream is headed. Not at all precious or mannered, this is an ear opener of where singer/songwriter sounds are headed in the near term. A wild ride.

Volume 38/Number 92
January 31, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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