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MATTHEW SQUIRES/Tambaleo: Being in touch with him inner Leonard Cohen and hanging out in a monastery between albums, this is a sensitive folk singer for the times. He doesn't gargle with razor blades and depress you to the point of wanting to commit suicide by the third chorus, Squires knows how to ride the outer edge of contemporary angst.

DINO MASSA'S KANSAS CITY QUINTET/Echoes of Europe: In which we find smoking contemporary jazz arising out of a chance meeting by players that wouldn't have run into each other if not for being in the 1990 version of the NATO Jazz Band. Yeah that NATO, the political thing. The sparks flew and they never cooled off. Hooking up all these many years later, they play like this has been going on in New York for some time rather than Kansas City recently. Easy going jazz that isn't easy listening, straight ahead ears will dig the proceedings. Well done throughout.

BANDZILLA/Rises: Well musos, here's a long over due second record to make you stop your bitching about how vapid everything has become. A crew of 25 pros that originally got together to play the backing track to "Slave to the Rhythm" and have since been the backing band of choice by everyone--they gather here to bring the funk, and everything else, in top shelf style. Maybe busman's holiday, maybe something time and tide won't give the space it really needs, you could call this thinking man's pop music but it provides heat for the feet with loads of bounce to the ounce as well. Killer stuff throughout.

REV. BILLY C. WIRTZ/Full Circle: Calling in the Nighthawks and some special guests, this king of the back roads lights up the night with a boogieing, rocking rockabilly R&B set that just kills. A sure bet to get any boomer party started, Wirtz isn't rolling over and letting the times roll over him. Smart and smoking throughout, Wirtz has a personal best going on here. Killer stuff throughout.

KAIPA DA CAPO/Darskapens Monotoni: For their first new album in 35 years, the Swede prog legends want to capitalize on what the Billingsgate nostalgia hath wrought. Bringing in ringer Roine Stolt, this sounds like it rolled right off the Charisma prog factory line from the heart of the glory days. With some Zappaesque touches for leavening interspersed throughout, this is what you dad was grooving to before he became a dancing fool and discovered derivatives and coke. Check it out if you wan tot be sure to keep it real.

MIROSLAV VITOUS/Ziljabu Nights: If Vitous is recording for a series reserved for unheralded legends of Eurojazz, do I have to face the fact that I've been too hip for the room all these years I've been enjoying him and took it for granted so many others were as well? The bass ace surrounds himself with some Euro jazzbos here to support his vision and further his legend. Almost in an ECM meets BYG mode, this creative face off finds him exploring the room sound has to move in and more. Art jazz all the way but in the hands of a real pro, the left leaning have a great showcase here to really dig down into.

RON HELMAN/It Never Entered My Mind: I might be narrowing the category down a touch too much, but this is hands down the high water mark in film noir jazz. The flugelhorn player rounds up a crew that you won't believe even when you read the liner notes, and they go to town in this set of chestnuts delivering the classic late night sounding record of all time. Not crime jazz, but film noir jazz done in a most mind blowing style by cats with miles on them playing like there's no dust on them. Do yourself a favor and dig this, pronto! Killer stuff that'll ping so many of your chords, you won't know which end is up.

JW JONES/High Temperature: A guitar slinging white boy with the blues that's heating up the great white north shows why even the remaining old timers are impressed with him. Right in the tradition without being a moldy fig, Jones is only a hair away from being an award nominee to being an award winner---for some time to come. Contemporary electric blues at the top of the game, this release is the kind of stuff that insure electric blues will live on in fine style.

THE RAPTOR TRAIL/Devil on an Indian: Genre benders that give you a taste of everything from CSN to McDonald & Giles, they call themselves melodic prog but this trio can almost call themselves anything and have the tag fit. With 25 years of jams under their belts, it's no wonder this feels like a trip back to the 70s flying in first class. They know how to hit the target, especially for younger tastes looking to stretch their wings. Clearly a wondrous flying carpet ride from start to finish.

TAS CRU/Simmered & Stewed: The guy that seemed to have started singing blues to hawk his bbq sauce has come full circle handing his distribution over to a blues powerhouse and revisiting the acoustic versions of songs from his first five albums. After making a great showing last time out, any trace of novelty is gone and the day job might be in the rear view mirror. A fun party cat that really has found his footing making a great case for believing in yourself, Cru is a white boy with the blues and more. Hitting on all eight, this is certainly one of the smokingest hot records of the year. Smokingly well done throughout.

RAPHAEL WRESSNIG & IGOR PRADO/Soul Connection: So here's the latest by a Euro do it all cat that took off for Brazil to line up a soul record that kicks it into the net. After showing how he can hold his own with the best Nawlins has to offer, he goes out of his way to make it difficult and show how much soul he has. There's certainly more than enough to go around. Any lover of classic, down home soul will know this is a vital link in the lineage. Well done.

Volume 39/Number 366
October 31, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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