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CLARICE & SERGIO ASSAD/Reliquia: So who said the Adolfo's could have all the fun in father/daughter Brazilian jazz? Here we find one of the most important classical guitarists of the age giving his daughter the chance to show the musical DNA he passed on to her which she has been making the most of as a vocalist. Guitar and voice with a little, sparsely used coloration here and there---and if you think that isn't the recipe for a powerful release, go scarf down a mouthful of guardinera to remind you of what hot means. A dazzling, stunning set tailor made for those who still remember what real music all about, you'll understand this set completely even if you don't speak a word of Portuguese. Killer stuff throughout that shows just how complex simplicity can be.

MARCOS AMORIM/Sea of Tranquility: Ever wonder how things would sound if Wes did a guitar trio dated produced by Deodato----inspired by the 1969 moon landing? I don't know where these thoughts come from but that's what this feels like. Totally contemporary as opposed to some hippy dippy back track, one of Brazil's best contemporary jazz guitarists once again shows why he's earned that acclaim. Tasty stuff made for laid back after hours action, this has the makings of a real classic. Check it out.

BRAZZAMERICA: Take three Brazilian born jazzbos that have moved to New York and gigged steadily, turn them loose as a traditional piano trio, let them play in a way that respects their muses and voila!, you get a fusion of Brazilian and American jazz that sounds like something new even at this late stage of the game. There's no real radical departures here, just an amalgam that mixes samba with piano jazz trio work and comes out of the mixmaster with a new vibe. It certainly doesn't hurt that these cats can play like this in their sleep, but if they do that, they do it with passion as well. Killer stuff that's quite the proper tonic for jaded ears. Well done.

RADCLYFFE HALL/Ghosts: Nu electro pop/post punk dance music that redefines mash up for a nu generation that already has millenials in their rear view mirror. Named for a lesbian poet as opposed to a snooty college dorm, this set shows that in the nu industrial revolution, girls have no problem handling the means of production as well as the boys. Cutting edge stuff that'll probably be mainstream tomorrow, this is where cutting edge meets commercial edge and it all works out fine. Go to it kids.

ERIC FRAZIER/IN the Same Place: This cat has been around for a while but he seems to be looking forward. With a street/jazz date that has just as much street to it as it does jazz, this is buoyant, bouncy fun stuff that is more interested in starting the party and keeping it going than anything else. With groove and funk for all, this cat brings all his travels and interests under one roof and proceeds to tear it off. Fun stuff that works throughout. Check it out.

LENNY MARCUS/Moving Fourth: And if you thought all there was to this cat was a love of
Ray Bryant, you're in for a surprise. Having amassed a resume full of work with top shelf cats, he proves he knows his stuff and is way more than chopped liver. Kicking out the kind of jazz that covers the waterfront all with equal aplomb from every corner, this piano man can stand toe to toe here with all that inspired him and shaped his chops. Solid stuff that anyone who ever dug the prime fusion era vibe will dig mightily. Well done.

IRON BRIDGE BAND/Against the Grain: This bunch of Jersey rockers sound like they grew up eating 70s heartland arena rocker records for breakfast. You have to give them a lot of credit for sounding like arena rockers that have already arrived with this just being their second release and doing it on their own. An EDM antidote for fist pumping, hormone ravaged teens that don't mind getting baked in the sun as they get baked at the festival, these guys sound like the 70s never ended. Why shouldn't today's kids find out how much fun it all was? Check it out.

LEON ALVARADO/The Future Left Behind: If for absolutely nothing else, you have to give Alvarado major props for not being afraid to write checks. On his latest release, he calls in Billy Sherwood and Rick Wakeman and has the whole thing mastered by Pink Floyd's Andy Jackson. This cat is committed to making original prog rock and doing it on his own terms. Alvarado has found the key to making the 70s palatable to hipster millenials! Clean edged, well played space rock, this set could easily become a defining touchstone of the next stage of the genre. Non-space cadets might not get it, but those that know how to travel this path---they've got a tiger by the tail here. Well done.

DAN ST. MARSEILLE/Invitation: Sometimes, there's nothing as tasty as clearing the palette. Give a bunch of pros the chance to swing freely with no agendas other than serving up a good time and that's all the statement that needs to be made. Pros + swing = one killer set with a good time had by all. Straight ahead jazz with a mostly known or familiar set card played like you haven't heard it before, this set is just one of those sweeties that hits all the right notes and doesn't need to do more. A real taste treat just ripe for those ready to indulge. Check it out.

RON KING/Triumph: The trumpet player that's been on call for everyone from Sinatra to Dr. Dre calls in the A team for some jazz delights. The kind of polished, pro session you'd expect from cats that have been at the top of their game for longer than any of us want to remember, this is contemporary jazz that invites you to sit back and relax while it does all the work for you. Taking you to places and stops that make all the visits worthwhile, this is simply fun jazz that plays right. Well done.

Volume 39/Number 235
June 24, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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