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IEMANJO/Medicina: Having been a white boy for my whole life, I wasn't sure what Lee Daniels was talking about when he said the white people world is a magical place, but he must have been thinking about how a white boy from Berkeley named Ben Harris can reinvent himself as a world beater named after the masculine version of the Brazilian goddess of the sea as he proceeds to skillfully mash up anything he damn well pleases from anywhere he pleases and make it all come out right. A multi instrumentalist that has racked up more than his share of frequent flyer miles, this cat can take you down any back alley anywhere in the world and find a party to hang at. Wild stuff for the armchair traveler that wants to hear the nu world.

SOCALLED/People Watching: Canadian mash up master Socalled is at it again, upping his game as he enters is tenth year of mix mastering anything and everything. Putting Oliver Jones and Fred Wesley in the mix along side youngsters like Rob Swift, it all kind of sounds like whacked out rap, but really, that's just the beginning. A kaleidoscope of stuff that has non-folkie sounding singer/songwriter buried underneath it all, this is a cat to really watch out for as a long overdue mass market breakout is here in the offing. Wild stuff that works.

IZZ/Everlasting Instant: The last set of a trilogy, if you missed the first two, this set of adult pop can be a tad confusing for the newbie---and we never heard the first two. Certainly a throwback to those thematic 70s albums where there was an art chick and an experimental guitarist trying to take you to other realms as they chased deep meanings.

JOHN COCUZZI/Ding Dong Daddy: And this is why we need labels like Ellersoul. Who else is putting out albums by whorehouse piano players that attack the keys with so much verve and joie de vivre you know the girls were tossing him free ones out of appreciation. Originally conceived as a way to play on record with his father (who was dying at the time), pop makes it fittingly on to the last track to make it complete for the younger Cocuzzi. The songs might not have anything new but it's nice to hear this stuff recorded in real time rather than remastered glory from another time zone. Get with it all you ding dong daddies.

STEVEN DAVIS/Perfectly Perfect: And if this vocalist sounds somewhat retro, it might be because went to New York to record this album dedicated to romance with vets from Basie & Ellington bands. An outlet for songs written by the producers of the album, it's a nice comfy fit throughout, especially since Davis doesn't try to make you think he's Sinatra. All that's missing here is the sound of martini glasses clinking.

USTAD DILDAR HUSSAIN KHAN & ABRAR HUSSAIN/Sur Sangeet: Hang on to your hat, Jole Blon. When you first start playing this disc of Sufi devotional music, it sounds like progressive Cajun music. If it wasn't for the sub continental singing, you would be pretty well convinced that this is progressive Cajun music. Party music that can also put you into a trance, the ultra left leaning world beater can easily be visioned dancing around the quad at the college campus as it gets warmer just before finals. Wild stuff that can easily be the next stage of college girl friend music for all non ethnics showing an interest.

STEVE RILEY & the Mamou Playboys/Voyageurs: And a stalwart Americana label like Rounder couldn't find a place for this, even in their new incarnation as just another label? Riley and the gang take le bon ton roulette to the next level of the game as they acknowledge thoughts and sounds that haven't normally been part of Cajun music, even if they fit in nicely. Rocking it up nicely but managing to keep it real, this is nu roots music for a nu rootless America where moving on down the line like high tech Okies leaving the dust bowl seems normal. If you're looking for an apple that doesn't fall far from the tree but rolls on down the hill a piece, this is the stuff. Yep, no matter what, dancing is a way of life in Lou-ze-anna. Well done.

NEAL SCHON/Vortex: Schon might be hanging with Jam Hammer and Steve Smith again, but he also tips the hat to his MILFy wife that he married after a tabloid scandal fiesta, and the world just doesn't need another Yoko to blame musical things on. Finding the place where Journey collides with Zappa and King Crimson, Schon delivers off the clock stuff like he never has before whether rocking or new aging. Loaded with amped up jams that would have been right at home two generations ago, this double disc of all instrumental rock feel likes a throw back to a 70s party when mom and dad were out of town.

LORIN COHEN/Home: The inventive bass ace steps out for his debut as a leader after providing the stuff for a wide range of stellar cats from all fields for quite a while. With restless music reflecting his restless urges that that have taken him around the world, Cohen delivers listener music for people that really want to hear something they can sit and soak up. Tasty throughout, the trappings might weave in and out occasionally, but this is no set of background music. Check it out jazzbos.

ZOFO/Plays Terry Riley: Kind of like the pairing of DeNiro and Scorsese, Zofo and Riley have that kind of fit. A piano duo, they were enamored with Riley and after the course of several on going things, they landed on doing a collection of all of his four handed piano works, but there really weren't enough for a full program so like true creative types, they improvised the program out. When something walks like a duck and talks like a duck, you can be pleasantly surprised when it isn't a duck. You would expect a program like this to be arts council music---but it isn't. Zofo brings all their talents to bear while Riley brings all his talents to the fore and the result is a grandly played 80th birthday present from Riley to himself. Any contemporary classical fan that doesn't get knocked off his pins by this set is really just a tourist. Killer stuff.

Volume 38/Number 189
May 8, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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