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JOHN GINTY/No Filter: Ginty has had it. Over the last several decades, his B3 has added spice to all kinds of artists that shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath. Ginty really turns up the heat here to make a statement that you'd better pay attention to him. Taking the Hammond well beyond jazz, often into realms uncharted, this hard and heavy date takes you around the block and back but does not leave you where you started. Killer stuff that will never have you thinking about roller rinks because it's that awesome. Check it out.

PATRICIA VONNE/Viva Bandolera: If this set grabs you right away because it sounds like Vonne has an affinity for crime jazz as filtered through the Robert Rodriguez lens, let's just ask, who do you think her older brother is? Culled from her five previous border music sets, this career distillation will make you wonder why you weren't digging her sooner. Filled with the kind of engaging sounds that gringos will dig, a local heavy weight in Austin, Vonne has the chops to spare and makes her sound anything but spare. Indigenous without being too ethnic for the average gringo, prepare to be dazzled and hypnotized by the goings on here. Hot stuff that's muy caliente.

KENYON CARTER/Game On: Stirring it up from the corner where fusion and smooth jazz first met when smooth jazz still had some bite and fusion hadn't had the corners rounded off yet, Carter brings back a welcome sound and heat for everyone that thought Coltrane's sax was a little too unwieldy, particularly in the later years. Plugging in to just the right time and tide, Carter delivers the good times that you just don't want to see end. Hot stuff throughout.

SMITH & WESLEY/Choices & Chances: What was once country rock is now rocked up Americana and roots. Whatever you want to call it, the Smith brothers deliver. Solid chops, incisive, direct writing, vocals that sell the package. What more to do want? There used to be corn fields where the Wal-Mart parking lot is now and this is for grown up kids that still remember the sound of crickets in the background as they rocked out. Hot stuff throughout.

LOWELL LEVINGER/Get Together (Banana Recalls Youngbloods Classics): You young ‘uns might not get this, but you should make the effort as this recalls the spirit of the 60s/70s better than any acid rock retrospective could. On the 50th anniversary of the Youngbloods, one the founding members decides it's time to look back at the beloved cuts and call all the period's major hippie and oddballs in for the celebration. The psych folk of the Youngbloods still retains it off kilter charm no matter how many miles the players and the material have on them. You not only get a taste of the Youngbloods, you get Hot Licks, Holy Modals, Even Dozens, the crème of Marin County and more. The hippies might have been dreamers but this stuff shows how potent the dream was. Utterly appropriate stuff for the year the Dead decide to hang it up for good as an era gets laid to rest. Jam on old timers!

JON BURR QUNITET/Very Good Year: The bass ace and his pals play like they forgot the tapes were rolling and were just out to have a good time. Kind of sampling in an acoustic way as they do some cutting and pasting showing humor in the titles and the playing, this is a wonderful after hours date where the chops never have an unguarded moments but the winks and grins are in evidence. Tasty stuff that is just perfect for that moment when you realize you just have to turn that god damned smart phone off because nobody is really calling with anything useful to say and those texts...oy!

VISHTEN/Terre Rouge: An organic French Canadian trio that keeps it indigenous and ethnic but isn't afraid to add flourishes of other musics that touch it when it's back at home in it's own locale. Drawing on traditional music and playing it with passion and verve, you can feel what they are singing about even when you don't know the language. Acadian music that sounds like Cajun music on steroids, this is a dose of some high octane world beat that takes you off the general world beat path into some wonderful places not generally known. This is a can't miss set of real playing by real players that will just knock you out. Hot stuff.

LAURA TATE/I Must be Dreaming: The Texas singing/acting gal headed back to Texas and decided that it was time to do an album focusing on the songs of Mel Harker. Kicking it off with "Snake Tattoo" a dandy rocker that seems to fit both of them well, the program goes along in high gear from all involved putting all the right moves in all the right places. With a little something from all popular genres on board, this is a fun rootsy vocal set that simply goes the distance without running out of gas. Settle in for some fun listening here.

ALAN FEINBERG/Fugue State: There ain't no Mozart about it, but this classical piano cat with a passion for fugues and miniatures imbues it with the kind of playfulness you'd expect from Mozart. With works pulled from two generations of august composers from deep in the classical era, this is a recital that will keep you in rapt attention as Feinberg makes it sound too easy but impresses you with his style and chops and every turn. Classy classical stuff that will give you a welcome relief from the noise of the day and make that snifter of brandy feel right at home as your palm warms it. First class grown up listening.

JOHN BASILE/Penny Lane: Another jazz Beatles tribute? Yeah, but this one is by a cat that's playing it in the now and was lauded by Jim Hall--and he should know a thing or two about jazz guitar. Being equally adept at guitar and midi programming, Basile takes the band in a box concept to new places as this doesn't sound canned and he gives his ideas a free range to roam in before setting them in stone. If you love Beatles and love jazz guitar, this is a pairing here that leaves you with nothing more to add to the subject, particularly when you can be sitting back and enjoying it. Well done throughout.

SAM PACETTI/Origins: Take a stellar finger picking guitarist with an engaging voice, add a smart song sense that lets him reach out to old jazzbos as well as old country stars as well as put Norman Blake in the song mix, add some talented cats behind the glass that are often over looked for their contribution to the recording process, add water and stir. Wow. It comes together in way too many shoot for and often miss. Deeper than what you'd normally think of as a folkie-singer/songwriter set, Pacetti is the kind of artist that can blossom in obscurity while taking his time to take his turn. Hot stuff that organic ears will not want to miss.

KATIE DAHL/Ordinary Band: Looking like Lisa Loeb's heartland cousin, Dahl doesn't need that short, black dress to launch her career and keep it going. With all the positive attributes you want from a heartland act flying proudly, this solid all around player has a vibe that makes her come across like your talented neighbor that spends too much time playing on the back porch, but watch out. When you aren't careful, she hits you with a bluegrass version of "MMMMMM Bop". A highly delightful folkie set that's right in the pocket throughout, Dahl could easily be your new BFF, at least audio wise. Well done.

Volume 38/Number 252
July 10, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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