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61 GHOSTS/...To the Edge: Two well traveled rockers meet up in blues country just as electricity came to the area. Powered with the kind of sincerity that sneaks upon you and makes you a fan before you know it, the power, intensity and passion here make this a keeper for the play list. White kids with the blues and a vision for pushing tradition into the future, this is a lot more fun that you might have expected. By all means check it out.

MARC COPLAND/Nightfall: You might feel like you see Copland's name turning up somewhere on a weekly basis, but this is his first solo piano set since 2009 and he uses the opportunity not to be a ball hog as he spotlights compositions from a bunch of august jazzbos that know how to light the way. Not hitting the usual suspects for material, this quasi impressionistic set goes for the ECMers out there that know how to capture the outer edge. Tasty stuff hard core piano fans will love, he's on point throughout, hitting all the right notes.

MARK MARTYRE/Rivers: This well traveled Canuck is more Tom Waits than Murray McLaughlin and you'll be especially drawn to him if you and Waits parted ways when he parted ways with Elektra. Dour stuff that isn't laced with regret, listen to this and you'll feel like the sun's coming up and you're riding with lady luck one more time. Intriguing stuff for lyrics fans that like it left leaning. It's more like it's charting a nu course than being fringy.

MARK ZALESKI BAND/Days, Months, Years: Recording again after a decade away from the studio, this crew has been together the whole time and the playing shows it's as tight as it gets. Free jazz lite, this bunch loves their sonic freedom but doesn't want to lose any listeners in the process. The kind of tunes that sound like they would really kill it live, the bass playing sax man uses both halves of his brain to proper advantage to making it all work right. Tasty stuff made for sitting down listening but not sitting idly while it plays. Well done.

MONOCLE BAND/The Clearing: I get it that the leader's name is Monica but why they would want to conjure up images of Mr. Peanut and Col. Klink when they play like the band that would be Poco 40 years ago is a mystery. Super sweet organic music that could have once succeeded without a hit single back in the day, now it's Americana but back then it was back porch. A glorious soundtrack for life on blue highways if there ever was one, this is the music you need when you get bit by the back to the land bug. A winner throughout.

BARRY ALTSCHUL & 3DOM FACTOR/Live in Krakow: The drummer takes his hell raising pals off to Krakow for the final set of a trilogy he had in mind for this bunch. Playing with the kind of angularity the Euros love more than we do, this is a kaleidoscope of church basement, free jazz and free form improv cascading wildly all over the place---but in the hands of professional hell raisers. For malcontents wondering when everyone is coming back to the loft, put this on your fave egghead's Christmas list if you really want them to know you get them.

COWBOYS & FRENCHMEN/Bluer Than You Think: Their second set proves you gotta love these innovators because they know how to chase the muse for art's sake and push the envelope without rolling off the rails. First class sitting down/listening music, it's doesn't take any of the over used art tropes hostage and keeps you on point to hear where it's going to go next. Dazzling stuff that doesn't need pyrotechnics to make it's point, this is a first class sonic getaway that offers sonic respite and salvation.

JACQUES LESURE/For the Love of You: Direct from "La La Land", this soulful jazz guitar man provides the sonic respite for the real world and all it's cancer causing damaging effects these days. Taking it right back to jump, this cocktail jazz set with extra special sauce is just what you are looking for right about now. Tasty throughout, keep pouring on the special sauce with an open hand. Well done.

WILLIE JONES III/My Point Is...: Remember the old days of record stores when you could thumb through the racks and you might stumble across something you didn't know but were drawn to just by the strength of the leaders that showed up as sidemen and made you go "huh?". This is one of those sets. Getting to know Jones by the company he keeps is a good bet. A solid jazzbo date for mainstream groovers that want to hear some music with bite in the bytes, this gang doesn't just knock it out, they knock it out of the park. Hard core hot stuff that works well throughout.

STEPHANIE K/Troublemaker: In the early days of house music, the debate raged about what made what oontz oontz music better than other oontz oontz music. This nu paradigm pop star on the rise re-ignites the old house music debate in EDM clothes. Beats, simple repetitious music and the title repeated a million times as the nu version of the hook. I can accept I'm getting too old for this and should just stick to jazz, folk and other adult niches because it's getting harder to tell one modern chick singer from the next. ???

Volume 40/Number 332
September 29, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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