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BRIDGET KELLY BAND/Bone Rattler: Since we first came across Kelly and told you to keep and ear out for this rising white girl with the blues that was sure to become a fave, she's become a fave cleaning up all the blues recognition there is to get. Upping her game this time out by releasing an ambitious double disc of all the blues there is to muster, she finds all there is to find in southern blues and delivers it hard whether hard charging, sultry, rocking or what ever. Everything you could want is on board here as this white girl with the blues delivers a deluxe extreme blues voyage that she knows her stuff well enough to strut it with total fearless abandon. Well done throughout.

YA TOSIBA/Love Party: If this ain't a party record for the uber hipster then who knows what is. An electro Azerbaijani Finland fusion date that borrows freely from the rest of the world for the mix--the first few bars will make you think this is a retread of "Macarena"---and then you get hit right between the eyes with the real reality. You don't even have to know what they are singing about to get into the groove and go with the ebb and flow as it leads you down darkly lit tunnels to the opium den in the bowels of the souks where there's no way out and you don't care. A wonderfully over the top set that blows your mind from start to finish.

MORGAN HERITAGE/Avrakedabra: Nearly 40 years after Marley has left the building, the reggae mantle has passed through the arch to this new generation that just plain scorches. A smoking reggae crew that has already hit it out of the park ups their game and comes in with a hotter, tighter set that owns contemporary reggae, no disrespect to Marley (whose kids show up here as well). There's a lot of good modern reggae out there these days, but this is the gold standard. Hot.

VALENTI FUNK/Valenti: Modern funk from a multi instrumentalist that already thinks Prince is nostalgia. Having rubbed elbows with some of the best and now in the business of creating his own turf, this multi culti flavored set that's been gestating since 2010 serves as next week's sound of the streets. Tasty stuff whose purpose is to ignite the party nights, it succeeds mightily. Check it out.

JORIS TEEPE & DON BRADEN/Conversations: It's jazzbos on parade as this duo that's got 25 years between them rounds up a couple of drummers you know and love to accentuate their bass/sax work on a free flowing date of tunes from around the horn and back again. A throwback to the kind of open ended jazz date you liked in college, after a spin of this set, you'll see that time and tide might have changed but super chops age well as some atavistic, left leaning tendencies awake within you. Solid stuff for the modern daddio.

BOB LARK-PHIL WOODS QUINTET/Thick as Thieves: You gotta love those records that didn't start out to be records and not only become records but preserve something pretty special as well. Rounding out the last of what's in the can from when Woods came to town to hangout with the young cats at DePaul University and finish off the night with blowing the roof off Jazz Showcase with the Omnijazz crew in tow, you can hear a fine time was had by all. Working out on a set of classics, playing with nothing to prove except how there was no dust on them, this is a straight up swinging jazzbo time that won't come again. Everyone on board gets some and the result is a winner throughout. Check it out.

FARNELL NEWTON/Back to Earth: You have to wonder why this trumpet player born in Miami would wind up living in Portland, OR, but since he's a cat that has left leaning jazz on his DNA, we have to admit it worked out well for the well traveled cat. Perhaps forcing him to be a protean hydra, his survival skills come to the fore when mouthpiece hits lips. An elegantly lyrical listening date that shows how killer chops can be made to seem off handedly brilliant, it might not be a smooth jazz date but it'll certainly level you out as you focus on it more and more as the date plays on. An out of the ordinary treat you can really sink your teeth into. Well done.

B.J. JANSEN/Common Ground: The hard charging sax man calls in some cats that don't have to show up just for session checks, let's them do their thing as he does his thing, gets it done in two days and makes it all sound like classic daddio jazz. Strutting his stuff on a mostly original program, Jansen heats up the night well past cocktail jazz hour and continues to dazzle throughout. Killer stuff for when smooth jazz just won't cut it. Well done.

NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALL STARS/Prayer for Peace: There's no dust on those Dickinson boys as they enter their third decade with a roots set that raised the bar, kicked it down and then raises it to new levels. The gold standard in rocking roots music that's made for the hearts and minds and not I Heart play lists, there's nothing to say about this but yowzah, cowabunga! Do not play this is you don't want the wax blown out of your ears----it's that hot. They must have set phasers on stun when they entered the various studios where this was laid down.

E.S.P./Zero Gravity: A jazz guitar trio that simply owns it up Syracuse way has kept it together longer than many other regional crews and shows how stunning the results can be when you keep at it for you instead of time and tide. They might keep it lite but they are serious jazzbos with deep chops well displayed throughout. An easy going set, if this doesn't get you in that Friday state of mind, nothing will. Well done.

Volume 40/Number 192
May 12, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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