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BILL GABLE/No Straight Lines: A piano cat that stayed in the background of some pretty big projects finds himself finishing off an album that he started in his head 10 years ago. Mixing cabaret with singer/songwriter with jazz, this winds up being cocktail music for a fancy lounge on the edge of the desert where you get this strange aggregation of characters coming to listen and drink. Did anyone send a copy of this to David Lynch? It sounds like it could be the soundtrack for a movie he hasn't written yet?

ATTACCA QUARTET/Seven Last Words of Christ: Betcha most classical tourists have heard this in lesser versions over time but never knew it's full title was "Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross" or even that it had anything to do with Christ. With their mastery of Haydn's works under their belts, the quartet serves this up as solid sounding as classic work from classical's golden recorded era of the 50s. Deeply thought out and well played, you don't have to play this just around Easter as it's a classical piece all the way throughout that sounds like the way they used to make ‘em---classy! Not just for Sunday afternoon listening.

GINO SITSON/Voistrings: A little bit of Vinx meets Bobby McFerrin in a jazz lounge after hours, Sitson is a cat that creates a mood and a vibe that was made for modern after hours times when the vibes needs to be turned down a notch or more. Easy going stuff with a clear cut foreign vibe that makes it feel sophisticated rather than multi-culti--- it's certainly not a dose of sounds from the street. With loads of easy rolling jazz as it's base, this begs to be a martini's best friend.

CATHY WALKUP/Secret of the Song: A swinging old broad that's been flying under the radar for generations kicks it out here on a set of her originals, all jazzed up, with a vibe that makes her the feel like the old broad equivalent of Dave Frishberg. Unexpectedly fun stuff that comes charging at you from left field, it's been along time since a jazz date displayed so much sense of humor as well. Well worth checking out as long as you're up for something different that knows the game but doesn't follow the rules.

STRIKING MATCHES/Nothing but the Silence: How long has it been since T-Bone Burnett worked with a new act? He's doing it here, lighting the spark for a boy-girl singing/guitar playing duo that keeps it country but was raised on rock. With a flexibility that finds them touring with Train or Vince Gill, they hit it hard and sweetly right out of the box with a sound and energy that grabs you and doesn't have the artsiness of Civil Wars which means this set takes it to the next level of the game. Other than calling it rootsy, it's hard to pigeon hole this set as other than killer stuff. High octane fun that's sure to heat up heartland ears. Check it out.

LOS ANGELES GUITAR QUARTET/New Renaissance: The classical guitar gang that is so successful because they often forget that are a classical crew makes the center piece of this outing a recording of a live work they shared with John Cleese. Unstuffy enough for you? Among that rare elite of classical players that can move in and out of any genre without losing their puckishness, when we find them taking in the renaissance here, with their own modern sensibilities, you can hear the sprightliness that was imbued in the era's works before time took them over. This is wonderful, pure music that can be enjoyed by anybody no matter what walls they try to put up.

RUSS NOLAN/Call It What You Want: Now on his 5th set as a leader, sax man Nolan is a known quantity around this byte site and, as always, we're once again glad to hear from him. A white boy smitten with Latin jazz, he's going deeper in the pocket this time around to be at the forefront at a new post bop/Latin jazz fusion that's making serious in roads with adult urban ears. At times right out of the 50s, at times right from tomorrow, Nolan opens those jaded ears nicely and brings some great sounds in. Not lite but really easy to take no matter how hot it heats up, this is a potent brew that really gets the blood flowing. Well done throughout.

TAD ROBINSON/Day Into Night: Always a nominee, never a winner? With this set, Robinson is taking home the BMA this year. A modern take on southern soul, everyone in every corner of the studio is right in the pocket and everyone mentioned on Arthur Conley's old record is smiling down making a hot spotlight on Tad Robinson now. Simply put, if you've got the jones for this sound and vibe, Dr. Robinson is delivering the fix you need. Hot stuff.

JASON MILES-INGRID JENSEN/Kind of New: Jazzbos, here's the record you've been waiting for to say ‘it's so good, I can't stand it!'. The humongously talented Jason Miles corrals one of his recent vintage, talented besties for a date that would make Miles Davis sit up and take notice of him all over again. Whether doing gift shop records or dates for the ages, Miles can/has done it all, but this is his greatest achievement, serving up his new vision of "Kind of Blue" his own way for modern ears and those will come to pass in the future. Calling all the heavy hitters in both their address books, Miles and Jensen hit it so far out of the park it's like one of those rockets in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons where the ball goes all the way around the world and lands back in Bugs' mitt. Right now, Miles is very proud of Miles. HOT STUFF!

PIMPS OF JOYTIME/Jukestone Paradise: Crafting sound mosaics with funk and cow punk on crack as the gumbo base, the Pimps absolutely defy you to pin them to a genre. One of those mash up sets the kids will hail as genius, let the boys boogie as we now know what it was that was going to replace heavy metal with the kids. Sure to piss off parents as well. Fun stuff if you still haven't started looking at college catalogs.

Volume 38/Number 144
March 24, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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