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ZERO TIMES EVERYTHING/Sonic Cinema: A little amphetamine buzz, anyone? A power trio that wants to take you on a journey of the back streets of hell tickles you with pleasure and pain until you don't know which end is up. A solid bet for those that like to veer toward the dark side.

AMANDA ABIZAID/Walking in Twos: A lite rocker with we are the world tendencies steps up the mic and steps up her game by having an admiring Steve Stills drop by and bend a string or two. Highly pleasing stuff for anyone that feels like a little passive resistance is a fine way to act out in these times.

DOLLYROTS/Whiplash Splash: Punk rock meets power pop as this irrepressible duo continues to turn it up and turn it out after the better part of the century together. Democratically giving the people what they want via another crowd funded campaign, this is the proof there's something to be said for letting the artist execute their vision to reach their fans. There's something about this that has loads of ability to reach out to not yet fans and bring them into the tent. Hard hitting stuff for the times that really rocks. Well done.

CAROL & DALE/Be Here Now: Solid folk rock recidivists crank it up for disenfranchised boomers that want to hear some hope crashing through despair and letting them know they aren't alone in this jumble of a world. No strangers as to how music is made, this long time couple jumps out of the fringes and delivers the goods with help from high profile pals that know how to lend the proper hands. Solid stuff.

HURRICANE RUTH/Ain't Ready for the Grave: Owning being a woman of a certain age and not letting it stand in her way, this bloozy broad called out the Nashville A team to show how she's ready, willing and able to keep the party going all night long---and then some. A real white girl with the party style blues shows how age ain't really nothing but a number as she sets the night on fire. Killer stuff throughout.

GRANT CUTLER/Self Portrait: There is a nexus in the highly creative community where you can tell the muso is doing more than noodling for the sake of an arts council. Cutler rounds up a bunch of like minded left leaners and has them recording with tape delays of themselves. The result here is loaded with the kind of sounds that separate the Reich from the rest. Easily classified as contemporary classical, Cutler takes it to the edge where the wheels roll off the track, but they don't here. An interesting sound excursion throughout.

CRYSTAL MOONCONE/Listening Beam Five: A new set of improv soundscapes from a bunch closely associated with experimental dance troupes plays like it could easily be presented to new agy types as well. This trio let's their telepathy be their leader as they take this music to where unicorns, fairies and other creatures play in fields that aren't as wide any more due to traffic rolling through with the trepidation it causes right there in the music. Contemporary head music for the heads that appreciate it.

OMEGA VAGUE/Aversion-Reversion: Somewhere there is a place where prog rock meets shoe gaze and this basically one man band finds that dram pop corner. Fans of both camps will find a lot to relate to here as the sonic waves play out and do their things.

JENNIFER DeFRAYNE/Sisu: Drawing on her Finnish heritage to find the strength and power to make her second record surpass the first, the new age pianist doesn't noodle around, getting right down to business for a sonic trip with some righteous jazzbos and new agers sealing her vision. This music will help you make the passage back to bright when you feel like a fire in the morning when the fire has gone out. Solid stuff any new ager will appreciate.

ROXY COSS/Chasing the Unicorn: Willie Nelson has long talked about the inherent jazz in his music and Coss closes this program by finding it and letting everyone in on the secret. But first, the mighty Miss Coss is with back with a set that pushes it farther than the last time around in which she gives full reign to her jazzbo self and turns in a sax date sure to turn heads. With an old school vibe that does pay mind to her elders, the sound is all her own, a point made certain by the load of saxuality she delivers by the truck load. There's no mistaking this swinger for smooth jazz as it's the real deal on fine display. And she's quite the leader as well. Hot stuff throughout.

JAMES RAFTERY/Everything: Shedding the old skin to try on the new, Raftery retreated to the woods, discovered hard drives and erupted with a new batch of personal stuff that should be ringing down hipper dorm hallways where the walking wounded are hustling between exams and on campus jobs as they hurtle towards a bleak future. The synth sound has risen again.

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 12TET/Trillium Falls: Here's a blast of fresh air from up north to open the ears of anyone that thinks all the talented college kids blowing some jazz are doing it in Texas. A pack of solo stars of the future kick it out at the University of Toronto and show they know the history of jazz and how to apply it to the future as well as anyone. Tasty, mainstream big band, these cats will dazzle your ears with the best of them. Check it out.

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Sweet Ruby Suite: Tipping the cap to the late Canadian , Kenny Wheeler, with the helping hands of Dave Liebman and Norma Winstone (who brought her lyrics), these college kids recognize a national treasure and do it up in a most formidable way. Doing a great job of getting in side the music, any fan of Wheeler's will be a fan of this. With big band done right leading the way, this set is a winner.

Volume 40/Number 119
February 28, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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