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MARK McGRAIN/In for the Out: Is it all that Nawlins gumbo? Where did a bunch of old white guys get so much funk? The bone man and his pals in Plunge stir it up mightily and give you one of the best aural reasons to play hooky from daily reality as they can on a platter. A smoking, cooking set that could teach Uber and Chipotle a thing or two about delivering the goods, this really gets the blood flowing. Hot stuff.

BILL COLE-JOSEPH DALEY/Trayvon Martin Suite: Almost 50 years away from the assassination of Dr. King, we find ourselves three years away from the death of Trayvon Martin and we find nothing has changed. These two pros return to the days of civil rights jazz in their tribute to Trayvon Martin and they know how to convey the anger and confusion the times bestow. Like prime period civil rights jazz, this isn't easy to listen to but it shows that listening in general is what's needed for any one that wants to seek a newer world (borrowed from RFK).

FRANKYE KELLY/Swingin' Blue: A classic sounding jazz/blues thrush, Kelly and her pals recreate a smoky jazz club where things don't really get started until after hours. Culled from 2 live studio recording dates, the songs are familiar but rejuvenated in Kelly's hands making this a night out you can enjoy any time. Well done.

DAWAN MUHAMMAD/Consider the Source: The sax man and his pals wanted to kick it out without feeling they were on the clock, and so they did. At times straight ahead, at times really feeling his Monk, this set will generally find favor with the slightly left of center mainstreamer that wants a little hot sauce in the mix but not enough to burn his tongue. Always swinging and lively, this is how pro jazzbos sound when no one is telling them what to do and they want to put their substantial chops on display. Check it out.

METALLIC TASTE OF BLOOD/Doctoring the Dead: One of the label's founders can't be that old but at the very least, he shows his sense of history here. Making the kind of music that could serve as a soundtrack for those gothy, murdery movies Italy seems to have produced a lot of in the 60s, this is a good set for anyone that thinks "Metal Machine Music" could have been a little more commercial to reach it's intended audience. Not pots and pans arts council music but certainly something you need to be quite a bit to the left of center to enjoy.

LORENZO FELICIATI/Koi: Prog rock and prog jazz meet up in a concept record about the life cycle of a Japanese fish and how the gods smiled upon it despite the adversity it faces. You certainly can feel the King Crimson influences, even if the drummer on loan is from a recent incarnation of the group. Any college kid that likes to play the hipster version of "I know something you don't know" will have this on his smart phone, ready to whipped out at a moment's notice.

MIDIVAL PUNDITZ/Light: After two decades of pushing the buttons, this "Chemical Brothers of India" duo are taking time from their busy schedules to show the new comers how it's done. Making this a bridge set that links their old school work with their vision of the future, the Punditz open the ears in fine style yet again as they boldly chart courses where no ears have gone before. Can you say top notch electronica? Well done.

BROOKLYN GYPSIES/Sin Fronteras: A bunch of musos from around the world converge in Brooklyn and get their gypsy on. The funny thing is they've assimilated and understand us as Americans as this is world music as influenced by the streets of Brooklyn, surely a United Nations all of it's own. Not having to call this gypsy music for gringos, this is a dandy world mash up that never heard of Django and exists in the back alleys of contemporary souks as much as it does in the suburbs of Romania. A wild trip for contemporary world flavored ears.

PAULA MAYA/Iluminar: Maya is a Brazilian living in Austin after a 17 year stay in Seattle, singing in Portuguese and letting her love of sounds Latin and African gleefully dance throughout the mix. That mouthful is simply a long way of telling you that on her sixth album, Maya is playing to her strengths and this is probably the set that will be dubbed her commercial album. If you give this a casual listen, you'll probably be fascinated by all the things whizzing by you can't put your finger on. If you take the time to go deeper, you're sure to fall in love with it. Rolling by as gently as a samba filled breeze, there's a whole lot more than that going on but it's all rolled together so seamlessly that's it's just a magnificent whole. A winner throughout.

CLAIRE RITTER/Soho Solo: Yeah, we know we make fun of arts councils and arts council music a lot around here but that is because we hold the view that most arts councils are run by isolated, insolated douche bags that frequently give the money to cronies and toadies that curry favor. Let's face it, for every deserving Ritter out there, there's more than a few that should go out and work for a living. A delightful and daring solo piano record, Ritter fearlessly takes chances that work well and leads you on more of a journey that leading you through a recital. A wonderful set any adult listener can easily fall in love with, she's not impressing with fast scale runs or making ingratiating gift shop music, this is the work of a pro that loves her work and respects your time, gracefully inviting you in to share her wares. Killer stuff.

Volume 38/Number 179
April 28, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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