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CHRISTOPHE SCHWEIZTER'S YOUNG RICH & FAMOUS/Grand Grace: This might not be everyone's cup of tea, but goodness gracious, this is improvised jazz that doesn't sound like pots & pans music. With a distinct vibe of Oregon running through the date, these cats play off each other nicely and weave a whole that works in a wondrously hypnotic way. Giving you a feeling of space without leaving you adrift, this bunch could have the cynics out there rethinking their feelings about improv. Check it out.

NAK TRIO/Other Side of It: A young, post bop Polish jazz piano trio that is trying to make a name for themselves shows a muscular and inventive creativity that can't be ignored. Like an African nation that never had telephone service and skipped right to cel phones, this bunch is breaking down the walls behind the political oppression that kept the country down for far too long. Stretching their wings in a way that brings the past and future together, NAK hits it out of the park for ears that want it mainstream but not too close to the center line. Smoking stuff throughout.

HILDEGARDE: Young jazzbos from Nawlins decide it's time to make a run for the roses and band together for some art rock that disaffected college gals can play on their phones while snoozing through boring classes to keep themselves awake. Not too dense, not too complicated but with enough flourish to let you know that it's there, this could even lead said gals to discover early Zappa without a boy friend's nudging.

ROMERO/Strings & Air: He might have a sax player and a vocalist on board, but this makes me feel like one of the first times I heard Leo Kottke or any of the other great minimal guitarists of that era that weren't playing classical guitar and speaking directly to us hippies that were past pop but not quite ready for jazz. Sax man Kestas Vaiginis can play with all the colors of a Paul Winter and that makes for a really interesting set. This cat has proven himself in the past with other interesting pairings and he continues to come on strong making a session that just ain't for the wine and cheese set. Killer stuff that takes it to the next level of the game.

OLA FRESCA/Elixir: The average gringo wouldn't know the difference, but this is a fusion of the various Latin/Caribbean jazz and party music styles. In a special bid to make crossover music that isn't watered down but has a wide ranging appeal, the Frescas hit the nail on the head for a winning party music set that works no matter whether you understand the language or not. Killer stuff, sunny grooves and a vibe that keeps the party warm and light long after the sun has gone down. Certainly a set to put in your summer mix. Well done.

COPS/Wildest Chases: Oh, who doesn't like some pretzels, beer and wild car chases? Isn't that why the Furious franchise is as big as Indiana Jones? In it's appropriate move from Fox to Spike, this anthology show cuts to the chase here (get it?) and let's you ride along for two and a half hours without any of the muck that slows it down, and of course, no commercials. Nutty fun that's just great for those times when your mind hits that well deserved off switch.

BAR RESCUE/Toughest Rescues: If poker can have it's own reality shows, why can't people that do their own version of "Shark Tank" for failing bars? With an impressive enough social media presence to guarantee this show gets renewal, the bar meister even let's you into his files of the 10 most disgusting bars he's come across for those who enjoy a good train wreck.

RAY DONOVAN/Season 2: It's really a shonda that Ann Biederman isn't mentioned in the same breath of Shonda Rhimes. While season one established Donovan as the ultimate fixer that no one messes with, season two veers into Sopranos territory where questions like ‘which of his families will kill him first' are asked. Here we are taken into Donovan's personal world where his unrepentantly ungrateful family, confidents and insiders show him that karma really is a bitch as they run over him the way he's run over adversaries. While the final episode ties up a lot of the season's loose ends, they aren't tied up neatly and nemesis's are sure to arise again for attempts at reprisal. While corny, white people words like ‘rip snorting' were coined to describe season one, ‘holy crap' is a good way to describe season two. We can only wait in wonder to see where this will lead to a season three flashpoint. This is right up there with "Mad Men", "Sopranos", "House of Cards" and all the other shows that are keystones in the nu golden age of television.

Volume 38/Number 193
May 12, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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