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BOP: What happens when the fusion A team wants to jam together but contracts, schedules and what not generally prevent them from banding together and really kicking it out? How about they band together for a charity record to help fund finding a cure for Polycystic Kidney Disease? Most of us don't know what that is, and it sounds like something we'd probably rather not know about, but Jeff Lorber and his family members are afflicted by this genetic, potentially life threatening condition. So, if it sounds like they are all playing for his life... We're glad to see Lorber never let this condition get in the way of this work. The assembled multitudes here really kicking it out on bop mainstays and classics is one of those dates that let you feel good by doing good. Maybe this can be for PKD what the Red Hot series was for HIV. Everything else aside, this is some smoking jazz by the crème of the players plying their trade.

VANCE GILBERT/Nearness of You: Yes, a folk singer can make a jazz record if he wants to. Sticking mostly to classics and chestnuts, the man and his guitar make an intimate journey through the past. Still adept at twirling you around his little finger as he was 25 years ago, this is a fine break from the hub bub of the day that makes you feel like you're kicking back at a nice, waterfront bar where everything is mellow and all is well with the world. Check it out.

PEAK EXPERIENCE JAZZ/Live at Lucy's Place V. 1: Looks like the deconstruction of everything is starting to pay at least psychic benefits. A construction engineer retires and follows his passion for music. This leads to a place for hard hitting, straight ahead jazzbos to play for charity. The result we gather from this set is that just because they are donating their time and effort, they aren't phoning it in. First a real estate lawyer retires to Florida and starts a jazz label for the under represented, now... Whatever, developments like this can only be good for jazz no matter what the agenda. This edition of this bunch do such a bang up job on it all, you won't even mind hearing something corny like "Sweet Georgia Brown" one more time. Check it out.

JUNGLE BY NIGHT/The Hunt: There's a lot of reason why you are going to like this but the main reason is that this bunch of young whippersnappers was raised on Afrobeat and they make it sound like next stage funk. Without being at all ersatz, this is a crew George Clinton should hook up with he wants to take it to the next level of the game at this stage of his career. The bunch of Amsterdam kids on the inside liner don't look anything lik your average James Brown fan but don't sell them short or they'll really give you the big payback. Succeeding where other sincere efforts come up just a bit short, this will give you an Amrsterdamn good time well into the next day. Hot stuff throughout.

MISSISSIPPI FEVER/300 Miles to Memphis: A bunch of aging white boys with the blues amp it up in their blues power trio and deliver the sound and vibe that rocks the roadhouse all night long. Coming across like a real show band rather than a bunch of geezers on holiday, this crew has learned their lessons well and they do way more than just parrot them back. Smoking stuff that has the sizzle and the steak. Check it out.

PETER KATER/Love: For his first purely piano solo date in a decade, Kater says these are improvs and impressionistic pieces. We don't believe him. The music might have poured out of his fingertips but it sounds like it's been gestating in his heart for quite a while. Proving himself once again to be a cat that can say it all himself, the range of musicality and depth that goes by all too quickly here will make you feel like this is a well rehearsed classical recital. There's always room for listening to rapturous playing like this and unless you are an unreconstructed head banger, there's no way this session won't touch you. First class throughout.

KENNY WERNER/The Melody: The always interesting Werner comes to the fore again with a mellow date that highlights his trio work with his piano in the lead. With a crew that can think and play telepathically, they can take familiar tunes to new places and originals any place they want. One dead, solid, killer of a sitting down listening date, Werner may have spent most of his career making other people look good but this is the place where he really gets to shine in a spotlight of his own. Well done.

CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND/I'm Not Like Everybody Else: One of the first garage psych bands of the acid 60s to make parents go ‘what kind of name is that?' are back with their first album since Stephen Foster died, retracing their greatest steps and not sounding at all arthritic like too many others chasing this same grail. Not exactly Huck Finn floating down the Mississippi on a raft with his pal Jim, there really was a time when kids blowing off steam didn't seem so bad no matter how bad it seemed at the time. This is a fun bit of nostalgia grand dad and lad can bond over. What generation gap? This is pretty wild without being born to be wild.

JORDAN HURWITZ/Here I'll Stand: It's hard to make it in pop these days and Hurwitz stacks the deck by having Narada Walden in her corner. Now if she can just get a well known pop singer's pop to put some money behind this...

LUCKY LOSERS/A Winning Hand: Aha, look a little deeper and you'll find this is Cathy Lemons hiding out in a group format as part of a front duo. Using her blues/roots background to best advantage, Lemons and harmonica ace Phil Berkowitz have the right interplay to make great music live and on record. Chop laden stuff that really hits home, this is some top of the line white blues that touches all the important blues bases and leaves a great time in it's wake. Well done by real pros hard at work---making it look easy.

Volume 38/Number 218
June 6, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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