ERNIE HENDRICKSON/Roll On: A singer/songwriter with jazzbo connections moves back to Chicago from Nashville bringing some Todd Snider with him and mixing it with some Dan Hicks he had laying around. Heading up the humorous wing of the Americana division, Hendrickson has reached the point where things don't have to be taken any more seriously than they have to and lets the good times flow from there. An engaging set that hits you unexpectedly from left field to good effect.
PAULINE KIM HARRIS/Heroine: With plenty of pop/rock cred under her belt, Harris returns to her avant classical side using a long Bach piece to instrumentally advance her political agenda. Using her music to underscore the need that's out there for taking care of one another, Harris' impressionistic piece and it's companion confront the listener, but not in an angry way so much as a thoughtful way that encourages looking inward. In it's own way, this is part of the canon of music as medicine.
(Sono Luminus 92235)
DIANA PANTON/A Cheerful Little Earful: The funny thing about this set is that in other hands it would be a Blossom Dearie flavored homage instead of a kids record--especially with Don Thompson on board. The worthy follow up to her Juno award winning debut, this is one set the grown ups can't get frustrated to in the car. Delightfully played and presented for kids of all ages, this'll be a good litmus test to see how the kids of young ages feel about Gershwin and Disney classics. Undoubtedly tasty throughout by a small cadre of pros that can do no wrong.
GHALIA/Mississippi Blend: Where was this white girl with the blues last week when I was stuck in an emergency room waiting room at 11 at night waiting for a friend that didn't want to wait for an ambulance and I needed some hard rocking choogle to keep me going? Rocketing from Brussels to Mississippi because the Americana call was too much for her to resist, she turns up here with the North Mississippi All Stars and burns up the night. A belter that doesn't need to recall Janis, this is completely modern and completely hot. Well done.
STRANAHAN-ZALESKI-ROSATO/Live at the Jazz Standard: While their trio has turned into a sometimes thing due to their individual successes, they reconvened for a live date that finds them in full swinging, daddio mode using their telepathy to find every sweet spot there is. A nice boundary pushing date that keeps it real, these are committed jazzbos giving you a wild ride that doesn't quit. Hot stuff that almost rises from the underground, this is the real deal.
JESSE TERRY + ALEX WONG/Kivalina: Industrial folkies don't just take on global warming, they take up the cause of residents of a section of Alaska whose land is melting and might become the first bunch of homeless due to global warming. They make their case without hitting you over the head and this might be the first music to really get the discussion going.
TUNETOWN/There From Here: A taste of modern improv jazz that's so modern it isn't due to arrive until a minute form now. Feeling like it was formed from the time when daddio was taking off for India and looking beyond, these sonic adventurers know the drill and drill they do. A wonderfully tasty wild ride, this is a blessing for the open eared that are looking for new sounds to take them new places. You might not hear sax trios the same way again. Well done.
(Slammin Media 301)
AND PLAY/Playlist: A violin/viola duo that sound like Zappa's early neo classical forays make their debut recording with a set of specially commissioned works by young whippersnappers. Not your standard Sunday afternoon recital music, this is genre busting stuff that shows the future is coming fast. Certainly you can see the eggheads cottoning to this but there's a punk rock energy that runs through it that could bring some new characters into the tent. Wild stuff for the open eared that aren't afraid of the future.
(New Focus 233)
FLOW/Promise: Take the guy that kick started new age, let him go full circle back to where he started, add some new pals that are like minded musical citizens, give them time to gel and you get, voila!---a second album from the crew that sets the stage and standard for new acoustic music. Too genre busting for the new age handle to handle alone, this gold standard set of contemporary instrumental music is such a winner it could win over teen aged heavy metal kids. This is what happens when you let real music happen. Killer stuff.
ANDREW & POLLY/Go for the Moon: Award winning kiddie popsters go for broke on this set that takes them to new heights. The kids will drive you nuts unless you play this on an endless loop in the car. With enough curve balls to keep the most ADD kid quiet, this is killer, nonpandering young people stuff that rocks. Giving the kids their own head and their own voice, there's nothing here you'll ever regret hearing. Killer stuff from pros that really understand who they are working for.
Volume 43/Number 321
September 7, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record
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