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RICARDO BACELAR/Sebastiana: The Brazilian piano ace serves up his version of Brazil's greatest hits with accent being on the composer instead of the song. No gift shop record here, this is a smoking work played by a cat with more soul than a player who put it on hold to practice law should have. The kind of set that stands toe to toe with great sets on this order extant, Bacelar should drop the writs and stick to the hits, we need more of this in the world. A dazzling set sure to blow your mind as it takes jazz someplace you just didn't expect.

DAVID GARFIELD/Jazz Outside the Box: Oh, let's just call this a dead, solid, perfect jazz adventure and flip over all the cards. Long time keyboard ace Garfield mixes tribute tracks and originals with a guest list of all time hitters playing with the chops that made them front liners in the first place. Certainly, it's kind of a beyond jazz release. The presence of vocals doesn't dim this as some of the most killer instrumental music you are going to hear. A most worthy endeavor throughout.

GERRY SPEHAR/Anger Management: The back story is as good as the front story. A cat that gave up music to be a responsible adult that never gave up on music finds himself coming full circle late in the game as he is pretty much untethered. Picking up the Americana vibe he was killing it at even before it had an official name, Spehar turns in a protest Americana date whose spirit harkens back to Woody Guthrie and the Carter Family when they didn't even know what they were doing was sowing the seeds of protest music. Pissed off as he is, there's no kvetching here, just cutting to the heart of the matter most eloquently. A real ear opener, especially for back porch/organic music, this date grabs a load of high marks that are long overdue.

JOYANN PARKER/Hard to Love: Ditching her classical background four years ago when the blues ran into her, this passionate Minnesota gal knows how to bring the heat to the frozen north. She's a full throated vocalist sitting on a bottomless well of passion who could easily get a side job teaching talent show contestants the difference between emoting and howling. Writing them as well as she sings them, this is some of the smokiest, smokingest green eyed soul you are going to encounter. The cover art also makes us think she won't take offense of we call her a dazzling dame. Killer stuff throughout.

KIRAN AHLUWALIA/7 Billion: Inspired by how the world is a toilet these days, Ahluwalia does a mash up of everything in the world that's interested her on her 20 year excursion through the music business and brings them all to a boil together. Way more than world beat, even when you don't know what she's singing about, this is a wild ride the opens the ears as well as the mind. You will be amazed at all the different things you pick out in the mix, from Indian classical music to psychedelic rock. First class crazy music for crazy times.

NICK FINZER/No Arrival: The boneman with real lung power shows up with a blowing date whose main goal is to entertain. Once again, the label shows itself to be an oasis of real playing for hungry ears. Sit back, put your ears in the hands of pros and enjoy the jam. Sometimes you can change the world just by stepping back and letting the good vibes flow and this is a smoking set that shows how it's done. This bunch of jazzbos have the energetic spirit it takes to soothe the savage beast. Well done throughout.

RICK MALSICK/Parallel Lines: We approach this set with a heavy heart as it represents the unfinished, final work of one of our fave back porch players who died unexpectedly in August, 2017. Friends and family gathered around to finish the record and make sure he had the proper send off and final valentine to friends and fans. Perfecting the folk/humor so many tried do capture in the 60s but continually fell short, this is a fine send off to be welcomed by anyone who needs a smile. He certainly went out on a high note.

FURIOUS SEASONS/Now Residing Abroad: A heartfelt return to the 60s by this Americana/folk trio is a real tonic for jaded ears. With jazzy elements underpinning the folkie vibe, the well worn writing comes from the heart and the performance comes from the soul. Hard hitting stuff that doesn't need to be over played to make it's point, it's a celebration of direct simplicity that connects over and over and over. Solid stuff that is most welcome at all levels.

13 REASONS WHY season one: The Netflix series based on the best seller book fleshes out the teen fantasy of killing your self and leaving behind a list of everyone that drove you to it, because they'll be sorry! Taut, suspenseful and on the money, it's easy to see why this is the most tweeted about show of all time up to now. Don't write off as just another round of teen angst, it's really provocative and disturbing. Check it out.

Volume 41/Number 144
March 24, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record

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