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BILLY THE KID & THE REGULATORS/I Can't Change: White boys from the greater Pittsburgh area with the blues? Yep, and they'd had them for years. Rocked up bluesy R&B from area stalwarts that have been making themselves known to people handing out awards for almost a decade, they are still loaded with the kind of blues that a punch press society imbued cats like Muddy Waters with. High octane throughout, these cats know their stuff and apply it to the chestnuts as well as modern and original stuff. Smoking throughout.

MITCH WOODS/Jammin' on the High Cs: A long time side feature on the Blues Cruise, Woods and his rotating cast of pals have been kicking it out for a dozen years now. Here they show the recent sum total of what happens when you want to boogie all night. A fun set with loads of contemporary blues greats in the band, if this rollicking set where they play a wide range of rocked up roots music doesn't make you want to buy your ticket for the next soiree now, you just ain't down with the blues and don‘t know how to party. Hot stuff from those in the real know.

FRED RANDOLPH/Song Without Singing: It takes a gringo to know a gringo. A hard working bass player who has backed up Maria Muldaur let's his Latin jazz flag fly here showing he can play anything he wants. When it comes to writing he doesn't try to be authentic and ethnic, he just wants the listeners to enjoy the vibe. Yep, he knows his stuff. Even making African stuff sound Latin, Randolph is a high octane leader that really knows how to rally the troops. Tasty stuff that's sure to get your motor running.

JON IRABAGON/Behind the Sky: Those without regular, live access to Irabagon and his sax might be a little mystified about what all the hub bub is about. His usual recordings show him coloring outside the box. This time around, he brings in Tom Harrell to help with the blowing and plays it straight on a set inspired by loss and dealing with it. When you get a taste of this cat playing it straight, all the accolades and attention make complete sense. He can play and now we all know he can play anything. Quite the personal and personable set with loads of swing and improv interplay that never fails, the star of tomorrow is here today in full force.

KINSEY/My Loneliest Debut: The later day hippie/multi instrumentalist recorded this in the greater Woodstock area where he earned his hippie credentials playing Midnight Rambles. Sleek power pop for millennial ears, he earned his spurs in the indie underground rubbing elbows with a lot of luminaries who let their mojos rub off on him. It's loaded with the kind of sound and fury needed to rattle jaded ear buds.
ANDREA PETRITY/It's About Time: How are you not going to like a jazz piano lady with enough of a sense of humor to call one of her instrumental tracks "PMS"? After getting your attention with that original, she goes on to get you with a mixed bag of chestnuts that never go out of style even when over exposed, like "Harlem Nocturne" and others. A sweet and tasty diversion, she never fails to impress no matter which configuration of musos she's showcasing in. Solid stuff throughout.

DALANNAH & OWEN/Been Around A While: You'd be tempted to think this is some kind of whacked out art chick project but you'd be wrong. A Canadian blues duo of just vocal and bass, they do something that makes it work--really well. Both the players have their AARP cards but they don't play it like there's any dust on them. With church soaked vocals that are delivered from the heart and bass lines that just hit all the right notes, this duo has got to be propelled by magic. Maybe all it takes to cut through the dross is to just play from the heart because this set is loaded with nothing but heart. It might be low key but it's certainly one of the more wild rides you are going to take. Prepare to be bowled over once the light meets the byte. Well done.

BALLAKE SISSOKO & VINCENT SEGAL/Musique de Nuit: This is exactly the kind of record you would expect from a label that found it's start in rising from the ashes of Windham Hill. With just cello and kora in the hands of two expert musos that love their avocation (they can't think this is work), they follow up their six year old debut with a set that could easily be classed a new age but is really simple but stunning world beat that just captures your heart and mind. Recorded at night in Mali when a certain calm in the air is the third man on the field here, these two couldn't have done a better job of finding the sweet spot if they used a sweet spot detector. Killer stuff that will caress your ears like never before. Well done.

OLAVI TRIO/Oh, La Vie!: This is where the Euros really excel--spontaneous jazz improv. With recording opportunities not as easy as they are here, they get a lot of time to practice their mental telepathy and communicate with nods and winks in the studio. This stuff is heavily toward the experimental side but it has just the right millennial hipster vibe running through it to make it go over in like gang busters in Billyberg and other like minded hamlets.

CHRIS JAMES-PATRICK RYAN/Trouble Don't Last: This pair of Chicago award winners rock it up and show what it was like to be influenced by those Butterfield and Siegel Schwall records from back in the day. The kind of crew that makes you put down your beer and pay attention, this set is another of their winners that compels you to bring the party home with you when you pass the merch table at the gig. Loaded with real deal raw intensity, these are white boys that really go the modern, urban blues. Hot stuff.

Volume 38/Number 295
August 22, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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