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SPANGLISH FLY/New York Boogaloo: Boogaloo first came of age in the 60s when the country was still dominated by regional sounds and the rest of the country couldn't fathom what a melting pot New York City really was. First given flight as a salmagundi sound of the streets that started out Latin added jazz, took on Motown, tossed in the kitchen sink.... The tradition is well carried into the 21st Century by this mixture of cats that don't know when to stop mixing and partying. Not just for teens, it might still be the sound of the streets but the streets haven't changed all that much. For party people that want more than BPM/EDM music, this is the place to get the next party started. Delightfully caliente and more.

DON BRADEN'S ORGANIX QUARTET/Luminosity: Braden and his crew of a dozen years standing let the sax man shine in the spotlight of this delightfully buoyant, commercial feeling set that doesn't aim low or aim for the lowest common denominator. Showing us how a bebopper not on heroin might sound, Braden isn't delivering cocktail jazz but he has a fine soundtrack for cocktails at a beach bar on Friday in summer. Tasty stuff that simply makes you feel good, this is a mighty fine entry point for people that are intimidated by jazz and subsequently miss out on the good times.

LARRY NEWCOMB QUARTET/Live Intentionally: Not content with a PhD in music history, this jazzbo guitarist went on to study under Bucky Pizzarelli, Pat Martino, Howard Roberts and others. The sum total he gives us here is a snappy, dazzling set where he offers up smart originals, hoary tunes that have been given new life as he takes them off the respirator and interpretations by pioneers as diverse as Charlie Parker and Carla Bley. Quite the snazzy offering throughout! Jazz guitar fans will be able to stop crowing about Wes for a minute as their ears stop them in their tracks to figure out where this new sound is coming from. Well done.

LORRAINE FEATHER/Flirting With Disaster: With three Grammy nominated albums in the wake of this one, you have to think the small change ups herein are going to make the fourth time the charm as Grammy voters awaken from their haze. An entire album devoted to the cynical side of love, Feather might be the only singer/writer that can make even that sound upbeat. With a great crew of jazzbos in tow, one of music's great sort-of-hidden treasures continues to show that she's got the right stuff to go the distance anytime. Hot stuff.

LOVE LOVE: Reconstructed 90s Boston alt.crew comes back with the sound and fury of the time is in tact even if tempered in to a folk rock kind of power chord Americana. After dropping out to be a middle American (even if in Boston) lead singer Chris Toppin found new inspiration to tell tales that peer at the dark side but don't fully fall into it too often. Not exactly 90s nostalgia but certain a comfort zone for those who were there and bitch about today's music sucking as loudly as dyspeptic boomers do.

JOSE GURRIA'S GURRISONIC ORCHESTRA/Three Kids Music: You have to like progressive jazz to appreciate this set. It sounds like "West Side Story" era Bernstein meets free/progressive jazz in the 60s. With loads of crime jazz flourishes and dream like sequences running riot, this feels way too moody to be arts council music, and it's certainly not pots and pans progressive jazz. Approach it with open ears and you can't go wrong.

BERNWARD KOCH/Remembering: New age keyboard ace Koch is the kind of cat that you can always give your ears and mind a nice coffee break with as his gentle works are a nice place to hide away for a full album or just a track here and there. This set collects 13 signature tunes from the tunesmith, each with it's own flavor and style that still manage to hold together as a whole. Solid adult alternative listening that helped write the book on contemporary instrumental music. Well done throughout.

TANG/Blood & Sand: Oh, who can keep up. One minute Gloria Allred is carrying on about how everything is sexist, the next minute you get a metal power trio fronted by two hard core babes called Tang. A throwback to when there were a bunch of wannabe Heart's that wanted to show how down and dirty they could be, this stuff will set young hormones of both sexes on fire, probably for different reasons. Loaded with hard core power shredding and gratuitous Dee Snider, heavy metal fans haven't had it this goods for quite a while.

BEKAH BARNETT/Rise: Intriguing! Barnett is a white girl who seems to find inspiration in Nina Simone and Esther Phillips as well as 70s alt.jazz-pop divas. And she has something to say as well. A wonderful throwback to the golden days of underground FM when the airwaves were loaded with stuff nobody knew but everyone knew about. Finding that sweet spot where the familiar mingles with the exotic, Barnett reminds me of so many of the 70s pre disco anti divas that flew under the radar when you didn't have to be shoehorned into the cookie cutter end of the machinery. Quite dazzling and personal at the same time.

JAY WILLIE BLUES BAND/Johnny Juke Joint: White boy blues rock for the nu generation is here. After two albums showing they were mightily headed in the right direction, there's a few change ups here that remove all doubt about whether they would arrive or not. Touching on several blues touchstones and adding a willing chick vocalist that really adds to the proceedings, this will keep the roadhouse rocking all nightlong. Super smart white boy blues that hits it out of the park each timeout.

Volume 38/Number 266
July 24, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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