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DEREK BROWN/Beatbox Sax: Now here's something you don't hear everyday, Chauncey. What's that, Edgar? A sax ace that transposes the human beat box thing to his sax where he does all this stuff that sounds electronic with just his tongue and his reed. Crazy! Whether originals, classicals, classics or Bieber(?), Brown shows that he has more than technique pulling these pyrotechnics off without electronics, overdubs or any assistants. Utterly nutty, ground breaking stuff, this forward into the past effort is a mind blower that any jazzbo will ponder with amazement. A wild breath of fresh air from out of the ordinary, wrap your mind around this and it'll never be the same. Check it out.

EVAN COBB/Hot Chicken: A young post bop sax man doing it all from Nashville? Like Bob Dylan said when he first hit town, ‘the times they are a changing'. It's as if Beegie Adair isn't the entire jazz scene in the town any more. Sure fingered and with what persnickety teachers would call a smart lip, Cobb is a daddio jazzbo without hipster intent. Heartfelt and commercial at the same time, this is a jazzbo that wants to bring new ears into the tent and is going a long way toward making that happen. Killer stuff.

CURTIS BRALY/You Matter: Braly is a throwback to when artists like T. G. Sheppard could step up to the mic every so often, corral up their performance chops, deliver a hit and then go about their business. An interpreter that has a feel for his material and has his finger on the pulse of young country letting a mixture of a frat boy side and a bro side come together in a way that rocked up country fans can get in synch with. Easy going stuff with good attitude that's a great antidote for the times we're in. Check it out.

SAMPLER 2016/various: Culled from 6 of the label's recent releases, the driving wheel between it all is label owner Charles Xavier who let's his jazz roots take root in a party mode. Abetted by a bunch of cool talent that's played with everyone and is pleased to take the opportunity to step out for some spotlight time, this is the kind of set that moves and grooves in just they way you want an after hours set to do just that. Certainly whetting the appetite for the full-length sets by the 6 on display, this does what a sampler is supposed to do and then some. Party hearty.

ELJURI/La Lucha: A multi culti kitty whose influences are as varied as her roots comes in with the new sound of the streets where urban mash up parties are the norm. These tunes know no bounds but they are structured as any mainstream rock can be while still reflecting world wide influences. A dancy, vibrant set that shakes the rafters, Eljuri soaks it all up and gives it all back in a tasty stew that appears to so many tings going on in your ears at once that you won't know which way to turn. A wild roller coaster wide that will leave you drained in a satisfying way. Check it out

SHIRLEY HORN/Live at the 4 Queens: Resonance continues to unearth killer performances that have been unheard since their original, live incarnation show just how much taste, style and chops have been out there and whizzing right past us. A late period gem from a real pro that kept playing piano until diabetes took her foot, this is the doyen leading her trio in Vegas for an off night radio broadcast to promote the gigs. There's nothing off night about the swinging, solid performance. You know all the songs from the various genres and times but what she does to them makes it feel like you're hearing them for the first time. The accompanying book will give you plenty to sink your teeth into while you sit back and sink in to the groove. Hard to beat killer stuff.

OPALUNA: If Frank & Valucha were recording today, this is the kind of intimate world music they would be crafting. With it's heart in the Latin hearts of the duo, the music takes flight around the world from that starting point freely alighting on genres and styles as it wishes. Showing quite a bit of energy and soul for what could be written off as ethnic folk music, these two pros know what they are doing and want to take you places you've only seen in dreams. Quite the dandy trip around the world, contemporary style. Well done.

SOCKS IN THE FRYING PAN/Without a Paddle: If this string band music sounds authentic and from the heart, it's because it's another delightful serving of such direct from the auld sod. I don't what what's going on over there, but there's been a renewed interest in exporting soulful, gleeful, heartfelt music by lads that love their axes and let that love show. Award winners at home, they should be mining some precious metal here as well. This is that kind of folk music based stuff that it's hard to get enough of. Killer stuff.

PABLO ZIEGLER & CHRISTOPHER O'RILEY/Tango Nuevo: As John Daly would say when hosting "What's My Line?", let's just flip over all the cards, shall we? The current tango master and the classical piano/public radio host team up for a duet recording of the kind of aching beauty that real, hard core tango is all about. As much a visual performance as an audio one, these two show they understand what it means to bring unbridled passion and fire to a performance that is meant to be fraught with emotion. It's hard to come across anything that's more of a real deal than this and discerning tastes should revel in it's beauty post haste. Killer stuff throughout.

STICK MEN/Prog Noir: If it says Stick Men, Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto on the package, left leaning prog fans need to know no more. Except that the crew is rounded out by Markus Reuter. All cats from some point on the Crimson axis, they band together here for a sinister sounding set that finds them making the commercial move of adding sinister vocals with sinister lyrics. Not art for preciousness sake with these cats at the wheel, this is a wild ride through the creative tunnel, darkly.

Volume 39/Number 298
August 26, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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