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MUSICA SACRA/Eternal Reflections: This set underscores the humor in how happenstance and fan passion can come together in unique ways---and none of it's happening in rock. The premiere conductor and the premiere composer of choral music just happen to meet as neighbors throwing out the garbage and strike up a conversation. That leads to a successful Kickstarter campaign that yields this set of brilliant choral music because the hard core fans were willing to put up rather than shut up. Obviously not something for everyone, real fans are going to come away from this with a handful of gold as opposed to a handful of gold dust. Perhaps out of the ordinary, but once in a while the stars line up in such a way that makes things like everyone buying all those chant records happen. Wonderful stuff that exists well away from the commercial zone.

SOU KASTRUP TAUBKIN/Sounds of Life: Work with me here. Suppose Joe Zawinul ‘missed' a plane for a Weather Report gig because he really felt like staying home and skiing. The group got Brian Auger to sit in at the last minute. With me? Take the Euro sensibility of a band made of two drummers and a sample machine, move it to Brazil where a multi instrumentalist that admires them wants to add his two cents to the mix and viola! It's like a missing 70s Weather Report date that Bruce Lundvall turned down because he knew that was Auger sitting in for Zawinul. He didn't turn it down because it was bad, he just didn't want to sort out the contract issues. This is a wonderful set running on pure heart and passion making something wonderful on something you wouldn't have bet on. World jazz on another plain, this will get your ears opened nicely.

CHRISTIAN ARTMANN/Fields of Pannonia: The cool thing about this jazz flutist is that he captures the relaxed spirit guys like Hubert Laws were able to capture in the wake of Miles getting further and further out. A solid set of jazz for the sitting down jazzbo, this easy to take session is a wondrous tonic for frayed nerves that need to get back to their happy place without making a big deal out of it. This cat's been climbing the ladder for a long time and he shows how to put it all together quite righteously here. Well done.

QRISTINA & QUINN BACHAND/Little Hinges: Of course things don't make sense anymore, here we have a pair of Canadian sibs making Celtic music because they were inspired by a quote from an insurance salesman. Making a glorious racket, once you get past the modern touches, this sounds like the next step on down the line from "Riverdance" type music. Their third trip up to the plate, these folkie based kids have a real passion for what they do, sailing well past the land of clichés. Loaded with heart and talent, these kids are destined for more than traversing the country playing house concerts. Playfully and sprightly hot stuff throughout.

JANICE FRIEDMAN TRIO/Live at Kitano: Really sweet music has a timeless quality that doesn't need to trade on au currentness. This live date, recorded four years ago, has the same flavor and verve as the early 60s live dates from Ramsey Lewis Trio. A jazz piano trio date with a timeless swagger, if you wished you were there back in the day or would like to go back there, this set with take you there without as trace of self-consciousness or look at me homage. Friedman and her pals just flat out know how to hit this stuff out of the park. A killer throughout.

JON CHI/Another Rising Sun: Here's a record that's simply going to confound all your expectations. With lyrics that feel inspired by Leonard Cohen and music pulled from all over to kaleidoscope in a wild way that let's you know this is a rock record but leaves you guessing which quadrant of rock you are hearing. A killer throwback to those great 70s rock records that didn't need to have a hit single to live the high life in the underground, this is rock the way you remember it when a killer underground rock record could sell more than today's top of the charts hit. Check it out.

PASCALITO/Forbidden Colours: I think there's something about being a Frenchie with an early and often exposure to Jacques Brel and cabaret that gives you that something extra were you can go emo without having non emo fans roll their eyes and think you're a dork. It's more of an art to put David Sylvian next to Charles Trenet than you think, especially if you have hopes of making it work. An all around entertainer for adult tastes, Pascalito once again just plain nails it.

PASCALITO/Citizen Chanteur: This cat has developed a great feeling for intimate performance as evidenced by this live recording in a premiere NYC intimate venue that has seen the likes of Annie Ross and other august personages deliver the goods night after night. When you're working outside the system without a net, you have to take pains to cover all your bases. His original works stand firmly on tier own two feet and he has a knack for putting them side by side with chestnuts that he has a special way of making his own. This is a real stunner of an adult, vocal listening date with a great you-are-there feel. Well done throughout.

BENNY SHARONI/Slant Signature: As much as we all don't want to read it, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't point out how this sax man can play like Coltrane when Johnny C. was blowing at that spot between show tunes and his space explorations. A muscular player that knows all the right notes and where to put then, this set of mostly originals would have been a career defining moment at earlier stages of the economy, the record business and music appreciation. Engaging and swinging throughout, Sharoni is a daddio to the max and not for moldy figs. Killer stuff.

JOHN FEDCHOCK QUARTET/Live-Fluidity: A bone man with an eye poppingly diverse resume has had a sweet spot for small group sounds for over 30 years. Feeding off the intimate energy of bringing the gang to a club that responds to him solidly, he responds by musically letting all know he's just one of those cats that has it and doesn't need prompting to show it. An ensemble work throughout where everyone get s a chance to shine, this is a mighty set of mainstream jazz the way you like to hear it played. Check it out.

Volume 38/Number 119
February 27, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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