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STEPHEN GOSLING & BLAIR McMILLEN/Powerhouse Pianists II: Getting a reputation as the dynamic duo of modern classical piano, they certainly show there's more to the form than arts council inspired pots and pans music. Playing this stuff likes it the most natural thing in the world, anyone that's been put off by contemporary American classical music ought to give this disc a spin and re-evaluate. Delightfully explosive and powerful, this is a set that's sure to be a real ear opener. You can't go wrong here if you're looking for some new sonic explorations.

CHRIS McNULTY/Eternal: I've never subscribed to the theory that it takes a year to get over the loss of a loved one. It takes what it takes. Four years after her son's passing, McNulty may finally be coming to terms with it but she certainly isn't over it. This set finds the well skilled jazz vocalist drawing from a passel of songs that are meaningful to her and meaningful in the state of her mourning. Certainly this is a fine a musical tribute a loving mother can give to her lost son. You know every note here is from the heart and totally heartfelt, a felling that really comes through. Well done throughout.

PETROS SAKELLIOU/Visual Music Circus: Sounding like café music with a distinctly Euro sensibility, Sakelliou isn't stuck in some fantasy past. Influenced equally by rock as cabaret, he and his pals aren't afraid to present music with real musicality designed to sweep you off your feet and deposit you somewhere else. Densely delightful, you don't know what's coming at you next from around the next curve and that a big part of what makes this so much fun. And now for something completely different. Check it out.

E. J. STRICKLAND/The Undying Spirit: Nice, solid modern jazz from a crew that's getting tighter with each passing minute. Taking full advantage of the musical palette of colors available to him, drummer Strickland proves himself to be one of those drummers that knows how to give everyone some in furtherance of the song. Tasty stuff at every turn, this isn't paint by numbers jazz, it's jazz with blood, heart and soul that keeps it coming throughout. Well done.

THE SHAMS/One and All: For those of us in the rest of the country, here's a west coast crew that's influenced by Irish punk and they are making a wave in the land of waves. With a sound and fury that's right in the pocket for the young and malcontented, anyone who has an affinity for the Pogues and the crews that flowed in their wakes will dig this modern variation on a theme. High octane wild stuff for the young and young at heart.

BEARDYMAN/Distractions: A You Tube star that's following in the dada footsteps of Zappa, B-man takes found sounds, his sounds and any sounds he feel will push the cause forward and mix mastered them into an acid-lite trip that's just right for those whirlygig times you can't even decide what to call. Crazy stuff for crazy minds.

Volume 38/Number 115
February 23, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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