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ADHAM SHAIKH/Basswalla: A global bass ace with a fascination for South Asian sounds, we find Shaikh taking a break from producing other acts to show off what he can do without any help. Taking the genres mix mastered here well beyond their usual limitations, the college aged world beater will satiate his multi culti jones here as this is world without walls music that's collected from all the far corners. Who'd have ever thought Folkways and Nonesuch Explorers would ever go to these far reaches and not sound at all academic? Check it out, if you dare.

MARION WALKER/Serious Picnic: With a lead singer that sounds like Nico, this fuzzed out piece of proto-arena psych rock is an ep for a nu generation of headbangers just waiting to shove it up mom and dad's asses for their excesses when they were their age. Waiting for my man, anyone?

HONEYBIRD/Out Comes Woman: Fusing a Nina Simone flavored civil rights jazz vibe with modern hip hop, Honeybird is like a Phil Ochs for modern times as her journalistic/protest music cuts right to the chase and lets you know exactly where her politics are right out of the box. All this from a yiddisher maidel? Hellfire if it ain't a new world, Goldie. Gavalt!

EUGENIE JONES/Come Out Swingin': The late bloomer might only be four years into a career as a jazz singer but she knows how to jump right in with both feet and not make excuses for lost time. Keeping it all Seattle still for her second date, she claims this set is as much an extension of her personality as her debut. Pretty mighty stuff. Doesn't matter whether she doing James Brown, Cole Porter or her own originals, she's a jazzbo through and through with a singular vision that you love to hear her sing. Certainly a fine addition to the jazz vocal lineage.

SIMON PHILLIPS & PROTOCOL/ Protocol III: It took a quarter of a century for Phillips to follow up his first experimental rocker under this name, now he's followed that one up in less than a year. With the same crew on board, they are unequivocally looking toward tomorrow with this new batch of prog jazz/rock that you don't have to be a moldy oldie to appreciate. Smoking stuff that isn't afraid to be loud and proud, Jaco, Brain Auger and all the rest have got to be giving their blessings. Well done stuff from a long term chef that wouldn't cook it up any other way.

BEHN GILLECE/Mindset: With quotes from both Miles Davis and Malcolm Gladwell in the liner notes, all we have to say is, Behn, calm, you really don't have anything to prove, especially on that scale. You've seen his name on a million jazz records over the last decade but this is the first time the vibe man has stepped out as a leader. Over flowing with ideas he hasn't given away to others, this is an energetic, well played date by a cat who has forgotten more than other people ever knew. Angular, muscular, hard hitting contemporary straight ahead jazz, this groove is so deep in the pocket it might be wearing a hole in the bottom stitching. Smoking stuff that's a little left of center but should be loved by almost every jazzbo looking for the real deal.

SONNY LANDRETH/Bound by the Blues: A sidekick to Clapton, Buffett, Mayall and others, you still have to explain to your girl friend who this cat is when you go playing air guitar to his riffs since his own career has been off to the rocking rootsy side of things and they just don't play that in the dress department at Macy's. The kind of high octane, blistering stuff you have come to expect from Landreth since 1981, about the only thing you can say about a new Landreth record, especially if you are a guitar fan, is ‘it's about time'. Killer stuff that's not only on the money throughout, it helps give the entire genre a good name. Well done.

SCOTT ELLISON/Elevator Man: DIYers, this record shows why it pays to spend a few bucks on a producer and mastering. White, guitar slinging, Okie blues growler Ellison sounds like a stone cold mother because you don't have to make the extra effort to hear him through the ‘production' such as it usually is. A cat that mysteriously stays under the radar, his stuff has landed in some pretty high profile situations, gotten him into the OK Blues Hall of Fame and has found him backing some mighty personages. Playing with the fire of someone that hasn't been doing this forever, Ellison rocks and rolls his way through the night the way it was meant to be done when it was all original and new. Killer stuff that's sure to get your blood flowing again.

RYAN DAVIDSON/A Wick Burning High: Here's a solid new voice in the nu folk movement in which folk and lots of other acoustic, indigenous sounds are bought together. Drawn to music through the loss of a leg, Davidson sings with a palpable pain many will find they can relate to. With optimism burning through the haze, Davidson doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for him or any of his fellow travelers that have been in stages of loss. If nothing else, the passion and fire is sure to grab you hard. A fine new voice well worth hearing.

WILLIE OTERI'S JAZZ GUNN/Concepts of MateMaToot: Talking about sticking to it for the cause. This was originally recorded in 2000 but Oteri felt it came out a little half assed because of budget limitations. 15 years later, he went back into the studio to buff it up and make it reflect his love of "Bitches Brew", Miles Davis and Joe Zawinul. These are not claims to brush off since he has worked with Tony Levin, Mike Keneally and others in that vein. Kind of an extension of "Bitches Brew", if you like the original, this spin off might well tickle your fancy as the grooves and vibes are right in the same pocket without being derivative. Pretty cool stuff if elephant funk is your thing.

Volume 38/Number 190
May 9, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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