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KATIE BULL GROUP PROJECT/All Hot Bodies Radiate: Hey, hold on, don't go writing Bull off as a trustafarian art chick so fast. Listen close and you can hear that Bull has learned lessons from Weill and Brel bringing it forward for nu cabaret. She wrote the checks to have a first call downtown crew on board and they earn their pay along the way. Sure this is left field stuff, but this is a fast ball down the middle for all avant garde ears--especially those that like the descendant of the 50s jazz and poetry movement.

UWE GRONAU/Mystical Morning: Some people say they are inspired by (whatever) and you just roll your eyes. Gronau says he's inspired by the fresh slate morning brings and you don't roll your eyes because he backs it up with his playing. Veering off the beaten path by making electronic music for adults, his interpretations are going to resonate with you whether you live in the city or the exurbs as he just captures that certain something and plays it just right. Almost cinema for your ears, this is great way to get your day started when same old, same old just won't do it for you anymore. Well done.

AMINA FIGAROVA/Blue Whisper: Add up the pieces. Figarova is a foreign born jazzbo pianist that has maintained pretty much of an album a year schedule despite not being part of the machine and not playing what the machine wants. Her current set is for a German label so you know it's heavy on the sitting down aspects of her playing. Several of the tracks here were commissioned by Lincoln Center. Eclectic? To put it mildly. As always, Figarova doesn't allow herself to be hemmed in and the sum total of her who's and where's are all somehow on display here. A real delight for sitting down jazz fans that want to hear what coming out of downtown no matter how they get it, Figerova proves herself a champ once again.

AARON IRWIN QUARTET/A Room Forever: Um, downtown jazz inspired by short stories about losers in the country by a writer that died awfully young. Well, we're kind of out in left field here as genres go crashing into each other like waves against rocks. The players on board are pros so this is more of a worthy experiment than some ego exercise.

KNICKERBOCKER ALL STARS/Go Back Home to the Blues: And this is the world we're living in. Various Roomful of Blues alumni start their own arts council so they can have non profit funding to make the kind of albums they should be making that also need to be made. Playing like a chitlin circuit show band steeped in west side Chicago and Central Avenue, this is stuff that Malaco probably would have been afraid to even try 20 years ago when they were in their glory and could stand the gamble. Playing with the fury of vets that never cared about the money and were in it for the passion, this is simply an achingly glorious, gorgeous jumping blues rock set. And these guys are from New England? Hot stuff throughout with a cover pic that makes you think you know how hot this set will be----but you don't know the half of it. This set should come with a fire extinguisher.

CHUCHO VALDES/Tribute to Irakere-Live in Marciac: There's simply too much right here for anything to go wrong--especially since we are now in detente with Cuba. The leader of Irakere, now 73, shows he's not only not lost a step over the years but he's also an adherent of the religion of caliente. Taking his time to deliver everything to the max, this is as smoking as world jazz can get. Dig it!

JIM STUBBLEFIELD/Encantado: The guitar man from Incendio gets the inevitable itch that group members with a lot to say eventually get and steps away from the group without leaving it to get a few things off his chest. Not the first time Stubblefield has taken a busman's holiday, here we find him once again indulging his passion for Latin flavored acoustic guitar and chasing his muse deep into the Brazilian rain forest. With several of his jazz/world pals that you know backing him up, he leads the crew through a spirited good time that has all the makings of a party off the beaten path. A high octane winner throughout, this is first class armchair traveler listening with a good time sure to be had by all. Check it out.

RANDY McALLISTER/Gristle to Gold: Even though he sounds young enough to call him a kid, McAllister and his bunch are committing no crimes by being a young of white blues rockers with the blues. Way on point throughout, this bunch probably kills it live and is one of the elite that can transfer their live energy to disc without outside supervision or frippery and really make you feel it. Smoking stuff for party people whose second home is the roadhouse at the edge of town, this is better for tired blood than Geritol. A real cooker throughout.

PETER COOPER/Depot Light: Here we have a cat that lives out on the back 40 and he decides to do an album of Taylor's songs that are from even farther out on the back 40. A Texas writer that can stand toe to toe with Clark and Van Zandt but has never gotten their kind of limelight, the high quality for the work here just makes you scratch your head and wonder why. More in line with the Bare/Silverstein albums than that of a tribute album, Cooper is a hard core fan just looking to make the spotlight shine where he think he should. Passionately played by Cooper and his first call co-horts, the equally passionate writing make this a super treat for fans of killer songwriting that stands tall on it's own. Check it out.

WENDY DeWITT with Kirk Harwood/Getaway: All the cool kids already know DeWitt is one smoking boogie woogie piano/organ gal and it's time for the word to spread beyond her regional awards. Not museum piece boogie, DeWitt and her posse turn up the heat, let smoke and sizzle fly freely and serve up a soul awakening good time. Hot times for the old town tonight are delivered here, hot and fresh.

Volume 38/Number 364
October 30, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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