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SHERRI ROBERTS/Anybody's Spring: While sifting through some new old tunes to record, Roberts noticed how many jazz songs were written about Spring and thus a theme for her new recording was born. Straying away from the familiar tunes but indulging in familiar names, Roberts brings her west coast sunnyness to Jersey to take advantage of some Jersey boys jazz and turns in a really sweet set that was meant for hearing in bars with terraces hanging over water in summer. Smooth stuff from one with a real respect for tradition but knows how to add her own moves to the mix. Well done.

AUDREY OCHOA TRIO/After Thought: This bone playing lassie that's heating up western Canada like a wildfire might be leading a trio but it sounds like she's shouldering the entire show with her being all over the place at once. A star of tomorrow to be reckoned with, she's taking modern jazz to new places and doing it without being precious and alienating nu or old listeners. There's no mistaking her tone and tonality and she's sure to blast your ears wide open. A winning date throughout that doesn't miss a beat.

JOHN HAESEMEYER/Maybe If I Try: Acoustic singer/songwriter tests the waters with an ep of moody songs for aging children come that are here already. This short set doesn't really give us enough of a taste to know which end is up with him but we're open to another go around.

MR. SIPP/Knock a Hole in It: After the recession of 1979, Malaco almost single handedly kept traditional blues in business. This clever award winning cat was 3 years old at the time. Since the locals corrupt "Mississippi" into Miss Sipp, you get a laugh right away with this blues bad boy's alter ego. The laughs end there. A deadly serious player already at the top of his game, he's revolutionizing blues ala Muddy Waters did after the northern migration. Electric and electrifying, the Sippster is right in touch with today and well knows how to tear it up contemporary style. Hot, hard and heavy electric blues served righteously from the heat of down home, this'll wake up ears wondering where all those white boys with the blues have been coming from and crowding the field for the natchurl born blues men. Well done.

LESLEY KERNOCHAN/Calm Sun: What it is about Brooklyn that makes hipsters move there and discover they like country music? At a bar called Skinny Dennis, no less. A lovingly loping back porch folkie/country record, it has all the right moves in all the right places as she's joined by LA pros and alt.country hitters in the birthing room. With the willowy 70s looks of a Joni Mitchell or Sarah Kernochan, this gal with the easy charm of someone you could talk to all night brings the varied chops she's accumulated on her journeys to the fore here with a low fi date that really grabs you. A witty lyricist and smart staff master, she serves up the goods most righteously here on this winner of a set. Hot stuff.

RAHUL MUKERJI/Ma De re Sha: A strange duck of a record that finally got made because it just had to after all the frustration the artist endured. A wild mash up of everything, almost all at the same time, in the era of deconstruction, this is the kind of set hat could speak to those looking to break through and feel thwarted at every turn. Wild, wild stuff that's the sum total of Murphy's Law, it could find an easy home in the ears of malcontents that have aged out of commercial malcontentism but are still looking for their sound and fury.

NATTALI RIZE/Rebel Frequency: She might be positioning herself as the modern queen of blows against the empire but she sounds like Madonna would probably sound if she were making protest music and not worrying so much about being an aging sex symbol. Well, if that's what you gotta do to reach your target audience and effect change these days, what can we say? This is a Rasta fest where it's clear that everything isn't irie and the times were in seem to push this to higher heights in it's cause. Just like modern blues ain't your daddy's blues, modern reggae ain't your daddy's spliff. Check it out, particularly if you're young and restless.

SWINGADELIC/Mercerville: I was looking forward to this since the first time I saw it announced on Amazon. The New York swinging, swinging big band steps up for their third themed release focusing on Johnny Mercer's catalog to show how much he swing had in him when he wasn't feeling down in the dumps. Never covering the same ground twice, they saved up their energy to really kick it out here on a dozen songs that might not be the first ones you think of when you think of Mercer, but killers throughout they are. A loving and lovely collection, this one will simply have you holding on to your hat. Ac sent u ate the positive and dig this the most. Killer stuff throughout.

CHRIS WASHBURNE/Rags & Roots: The bone man blows your mind as he blows your ears open by surrounding himself with a killer array of modern jazzbos who all pull in the same direction when he reaches back to pull a piano out of a speakeasy whore house and relocates it to a whore house on Mars. Making classic rags modern and interspersing them with materiality of Washburn's making, this set colors outside the lines and invites you to take a wild ride along with it as the familiar gets turned on it's head in a most delightful fashion. A stomping good time, leave your inhibitions a the door and check in for a good time. Well done throughout.

GREG SKAFF/Soulmation: Proving to be New York's funkiest guitar white boy for almost the last 40 years, quite a feat for a kid from Kansas, Skaff lets it all hang out here and soul, funk and greasy jazz collide in a mash up that would leaves cars looking like modern art if this were to happen on the street, with cars. Sticking to mostly original compositions, this is the antidote for any morass that you might find swirling around your head. Powered by tasty chops, listen to this instead of going for your next stress test. Hot and heavy goodness throughout.

Volume 40/Number 157
April 7, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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