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GEORGE STEPHEN KELLY/The Power, The Glory & The Monkey Time: A white boy from Detroit with the blues by way of Memphis is another of those stars that burn brightly across the night entertaining the fans before moving to the next beer joint down the line the next night. Capable of holding his own with others that have trod the same boards with a little better luck and name recognition, this is a cat not to ignore when he comes to your town, even if it's the middle of the week and you have to pay the babysitter a little extra. Rollicking along in fine style, be sure to add this cat to your blues rolodex. Hot stuff throughout.

MOKEN/Chapters of My Life: A Cameroon griot that's come here and gone gringo, Moken isn't afraid to break down as many walls as possible and craft a nu indigenous folk music for the future. A sonic wild ride loaded with pan-African pop and sensibilities, Moken makes one of those ethnic dates that you don't have to be solely an armchair traveler to appreciate. A fine entry into millennial pop, this is a fine example of what's lies outside the provincial boundaries of your mind. Check it out.

BILL DURST/Good Good Lovin': With a career that stretches back far enough to say he opened for Yardbirds, this Canadian blues rock shredder sounds an awful lot like a Texas han-han-han kind of guy. With more miles under his belt that he really wants to admit to, we find the north of the border all star leading a power trio with a vigor that says he don't need no Viagra. This is how we still rock it in the heartland. Well done.

HUBERT VON GOISERN/Federn: A self described musical trouble maker of long standing, this Austrian muso exercises at least as many muscles as Schwarzenegger does as he crafts one of the nuttiest international, multi-genre mash ups you are going to come across. Taking electric blues to the lederhosen Alps and everything to everyplace else, even the gringo malcontent won't be able to fathom how this guy can channel Serge Gainsborough and take him to the wildest places, including hoe downs. Wild stuff that never rolls off the rails or becomes precious, this is a wild sonic ride that can only exist in deep left field. Killer stuff that'll amaze your ears throughout.

HENDRIK MEURKENS/Harmonicus Rex: This might be Meurkins first straight jazz record in 15 years but the Brazilian lilt he's implanted into his harmonica is unmistakable. A killer jazz outing with a first call cast backing him up, every new Meurkins album is a reason to celebrate. The heir apparent to Toots Thielemans doesn't stoop to look-at-me pyrotechnics here as he kicks back to be a member of a great band that's hitting together on all eight. A blowing date of a different kind but a killer blowing date nonetheless, this is the kind of jazz the mainstream doctor has ordered for all his jazz deprived patients. Hot stuff.

WALT WEISKOPF/The Way You Say It: With three contemporary all stars in their own right backing him up on this set of mostly originals, sax man Weiskopf finds and locates his inner daddio leading a set that's so firmly in the post bop tradition you almost miss the boundary pushing playing he's worked into the grooves. A killer date for straight ahead tastes that don't want experimentation so much as they do right on playing, this high octane set delivers the goods to all addresses on the map. A wonderful killer of a date that has everyone playing with the gas on high and all burners at full flame.

LIZANNE KNOTT/Excellent Day: Well looky here, this is the Lucinda Williams album we've been waiting for as the follow up to her white album. Perfectly capturing the smoky vocals that enticed us to want to share some passionate kisses backed by some solid industrial folk bottoming heart touching writing, this is a perfect example of the kind of excellence ears demanding the crème of the crop demand. On point throughout without a wasted note, Knott has proven herself to be the new belle of the ball. Killer stuff throughout.

LARRY YOUNG/In Paris-the ORTF Recordings: What's the world coming to when unreleased 50 year old recordings originally made for French radio and not heard since originally broadcast sound fresher and tastier than a lot of what's going on now? The organist faces off with several up and coming stars in a two cd set of killer stuff that kicks off a partnership between the label and the French radio archives in which this sterling kick off can only portent great things to come. With plenty of great music and a well researched 68 page book to go with it, Young is given a proper tribute here. With loads of smoking, hard charging jazz to fill your ears, this set is a can't miss delight that should be welcome for another 50 years. Everybody on board gets the chance to step up and hit it out of the park proving that this really was an era when the music mattered. These sides predate Young's Bluenote hearsays it's easy to heard why they offered him a contract. Hot stuff.

TODD COOLMAN & Trifecta/Collectables: A New York old school piano trio led by a bass man making his fourth set as a leader, there's not a whole lot to say about this record other than it feels good. Just three cats playing together in an almost off the clock fashion, they all bring their own special sauce to the party and a grand party it is. Easy to listen to but never easy listening, this is a jazz trio that knows the métier and plays the groove to the max. Well done throughout.

KRAKAUER'S ANCESTRAL GROVE/Checkpoint: Blame it on the cultural mash ups Brooklyn encourages these days. A master clarinetist and his A list pals take a busman's holiday from his Grammy nominated ways and goes searching for his roots in a musical way. Certainly not solely an ethnic recording, the music mash up here covers the tracks of his searching his back pages for his Polish/Russian roots in a most forward thinking way. Wild stuff that goes beyond appealing to hipsters, this jazz and something else set is sure to bring nears into the tent and make them hang around to hear what else they can discover. Check it out.

Volume 39/Number 117
February 26, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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