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LIBERATION MUSIC COLLECTIVE/Rebel Portraiture: From their newly adopted home in Chicago, this crew stays true to the progressive roots of LMO as well as the left leaning progressive 60s jazz of Chicago. Instrumentally honoring freedom fighters of the ages, this never veers into art jazz as you can feel way too much of Carla Bley type pluckiness powering the proceedings. There's a lot to complain about these days and these youngsters are adept at sending a message without using Western Union. Progressive hot stuff for progressive tastes.

RUSTY YOUNG/Waitin' For the Sun: 50 years in the making, the guy from Poco that didn't get air lifted in Eagles is making boomer friendly music from his home in Missouri; music for getting away from it all while keeping your toe in the water. Rubbing elbow for years with all the boomer music high fliers provided lessons that weren't lost on Young as this set could fly as high as all the rest of the genre. A wide ranging but personal set, this is new music for boomers that go to the bathroom when the new music is played in concert----but it's stuff they should stick around and hear, Young has his finger on the pulse. A dandy post card from an old pal that fortunately isn't writing to us from another dimension.

DARREN BARRETT DB-ISH/The Opener: Smoking little date from the trumpet vet that finds him taking his sound and fury to different places than in the past. Opening things up the way like Miles did when he opened himself up to funk, this high octane set shows us that music is more than just a bunch of notes. Opening the sound up in fine style, this set shows just how well the listener can groove without getting up from his chair. A real breath of fresh air.

THOR/Beyond the Pain Barrier: How can you not want to check out Thor live just to see if he's rocking out with a walker or not? Hooking up with some youngsters that keep his metal assault contemporary and sizzling, you can bang your head at any age if you really want to and this is the hard core proof. Hopefully, this won't make kids disrespect their real world grand father's that don't want to rock like this with their Depends on. This is how hard core metal is done right and we need original left fielders to keep giving lessons.

JEFF COFFIN/Next Time Yellow: As an august musical MVP, Coffin knows well that a rising tide lifts all boats and here we find him doing something well beyond the pale. This set is stocked with contemporary, Nashville based improvisers and it seems like Coffin wants to give them the visibility and status that Nashville's version of the Wrecking Crew had in the 60s and 70s. You can make music anyplace you find 8 notes and this musical freedom fighter puts himself right in the middle of the front lines with this date that cannot be written off as reality show music made in the moment. A solid set sure to keep his cutting edge, saxy reputation in tact, this is as good as it gets.

JEN SIUKOLA/Lighthouse Reverie: A trumpet slinging gal with a lot of academe on her vitae shows it doesn't stop her from knowing how to hoist and swing going so far as to write familiar sounding daddio jazz with real authenticity that hooks you right away. Maybe playing hooky to play with Charo gave her a wily eye to keep open for whimsy and add it to her life. Positioning herself to be one of the tent poles of Indianapolis/Indiana jazz, Siukola gives us the bounce for the ounce that we so dearly keep seeking out. Killer stuff throughout.

MILLIGAN VAUGHAN PROJECT/MVP: A couple of hard charging bad boys with rocked up blues tearing it up in Austin with their distinctive Texas sound show that mash ups don't have to be restricted to urban and world sounds as this mash up fuses Americana and indigenous grooves. Hard hitting stuff led by some real guitar slinging and growling, heartfelt vocals, this duo and their crew give voice to the heartland where EDM is nothing more than a diversion and a fad. Fist pumping, hormone releasing high octane stuff, this is the sound of what it is to be young between the two oceans. Well done.

JANE IRA BLOOM/Wild Lines-Improvising Emily Dickenson: If Bloom wasn't one of the singularly voiced soprano sax aces of our times, this project would have been in lesser hands and labeled the work of an art chick. Not so here. Bloom turns her attention to impressionistic voices from the works of Dickinson and follows that up with a second disc that follows the same suit but with vocals reading Dickinson over the music. Rounding up some well known pros up for following her on this creative journey through the wilderness of the nu record business, the result is a perfect storm of a sitting down jazz date you don' have to be an egghead to enjoy. Tapping into Dickinson's little known side as a jazz piano improviser, the whole thing makes perfect sense on so many levels if you just sit back and let it do it's thing. Smoking art jazz that goes the distance.

FRED HERSCH/Open Book: Any real Hersch fan will welcome the opportunity to follow Hersch into the woods here as he comes out with his most personal solo piano date yet. Letting his muse lead the way, the set list makes you expect the unexpected then follow suit with what he does to the material. Wine and cheese music? Only if you aren't listening closely. This is the work of a real artist examining his art and laying himself bare in the musical process. Solo piano music that forces you to lean in, put this up there with genre classics.

DIAL & OATTS RICH DeROSA/Rediscovered Ellington: Although the seeds of this session took root almost 40 years ago, you can't fault them for not getting this out amid the Ellington centennial hoopla in 1999. Competing with the established stuff could have dampened the effect of this as tourists only want to hear "Take the A Train". With WDR backing up the leaders, all get in touch with their jazzbo souls in getting the chance to work out on obscure Ellingtonia as well as a track that never really got general release. Can you really pass up a chance at big band Ellington that doesn't get real airings? It's new if it's new to you and for whatever reason these tracks are obscure, being second rate isn't one of them. A dandy find for the real jazzbo.

Volume 40/Number 277
August 5, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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