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DAN CHADBURN/Keys of Light: When you've got it, you've got it. Chadburn's latest solo piano date is a contemporary instrumental set that's very personal to him as he pays tribute to people that meant something to him that are gone (and some that aren't). A real champ of a player, his various recognitions by WAMA are al well deserved and well earned. Very much an instrumental cat for these times.

LES COPELAND/To Be in Your Company: An old white boy that was Honeyboy Edwards sidekick for 15 years shows he knows how to carry the show on his own. Playing Delta blues on his guitar, he sounds as back porch as Mississippi John Hurt as he carries on mostly solo. A charming, chop filled date with a tip of the cap to Edwards before going off on his own tangents about life's characters, this is killer, Sunday afternoon festival blues that's best enjoyed with a sweaty bottle of cold beer on a hot day. Must hearing for any open adult ears looking for a date loaded with heart.

ANDY COHEN/Road Be Kind: In which we find producer/label owner Mike Frank picking up the mantle left behind by ED Denson as he gets behind this second outing by a back porch version of Steve Goodman delivering guitar folk/blues in classic college coffeehouse style. A killer guitarist and engaging storyteller, Cohen is a road tested, dyed in the wool Americana artist that's more interested in delivering loads of heart than loads of hits. Way too good to be left to the mercy of arts councils, this is the kind of music you need to get out and support particularly when you are looking for something out of the ordinary that will really satisfy. Check it out.

TOMMY McCOY/25 Year Retrospect: With generous dollops served up from all his albums over the last quarter century, this white boy blues guitarists appropriates Albert King so well you'd think he was picking it up from the master while hanging around Lovejoy, IL. Surprise! Albert's been gone that long. A time tested roadhouse warrior, if you don't know him by now, queue up and get wise. Powering funky grooves that'll get the ladies rousing their rumps like salt shakers, McCoy's understanding of show band blues is a joy to behold. Certainly a solid look back.

ANGELS SING THE BLUES/various: An old school set of live and studio tracks that date back a decade, this is the classic Chicago vibe of what was in the air when Butterfield first forayed down to the Hyde Park environs to sample the wares. No damage is done by these tracks being in the can for a decade because everyone involved captured the timeless vibe, even when updating it surreptitiously. For any newbies who ever wondered how blues could underscore a good time, this crew of established singers and players show you how it's done. Shows like this are a good reason to be late for work the next morning.

EMPRESARIOS/The Vibes: Hot and heavy duty tropicaliente, this crew continues to blaze their own sound and lead their own genre with a street date that takes the streets into the future. Loaded with Latin future funk, there's a lot of genre splicing in which we find their sound really coming into it's own on this third date. A real party on a platter, releasing this at the end of summer is sure to make heat more than a memory as winter moves in. Yep, hot stuff throughout.

ERIC ALEXANDER/The Real Thing: One of those records that doesn't blow up big out of the box but hangs around forever, master sax man Alexander certainly is the real thing. Swinging some modern daddio with Rudy Van Gelder twirling the knobs behind the glass, this date has everything in place to be a jazz classic, even without breaking any new ground, just because the blowing is so impressive. Just when you thought Alexander has hit his stride, he comes back with a smoking date like this that lets you know just how much is left in his stride. Killer stuff throughout.

ABBEY LINCOLN/Sophisticated Abbey: Recording infrequently in the 80s, Lincoln is captured live here at Keystone Korner in 1980 with a smart, smoking crew behind her. Never an improviser, Lincoln came more from the pop tradition and delivered the lyric as written knowing how to get the most out of each syllable. A product of her times, Lincoln was very much informed by Billie Holiday---and she put that influence to good use rather than manqué-ing around. A solid bet for jazz vocal fans that don't mind getting their hands dusty digging in the crates.

HANS CHRISTIAN/Nanda Devi: For a cat that started out as a bass player for Robbie Robertson and Red Hot Chili Peppers among others, this cello player turned multi instrumentalist has taken the long way around to become one of the rising stars of deep new age issuing this set that's an impressionistic tribute to a tall mountain peak in India. Calling all his various skill sets into play, the young new ager that doesn't want to hear her mom's music will find this rock sensibilitied new age useful as she slips on her designer yoga pants. Music with a beginning, middle and end, as well as some sonic side trips along the way, pop goes the new age---sort of. Well done.

STEPHEN YOUNG & THE UNION/Eagle Fort Rumble: Yep, they have Americana bands in Ireland, and this set shows they have some pretty smoking ones. Capturing the ragged edge that gives Americana its flavor, they rock, they roll, but they keep it on the back 40, often with a sinister edge. A great ride for those looking for stuff that doesn't fit the formula but doesn't roll off the rails.

Volume 38/Number 309
September 4, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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