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CAROLINE COTTER/Home on the River: So just suppose for a moment Alanis Morrissette was an Americana/folkie artist and could express her existential angst without shrieking. Would you listen? You would if she was Cotter. With a world wide influenced world view, this gal knows her apples and knows what she wants---even if she's figuring out how to get it like the rest of us. With a bunch of career highlights already under her belt, it's harder to make it these days, especially if you are a real indie act, but you can bet on her to win, forget about place or show. Well done.

BENJI KAPLAN/Chorando Sete Cores: An ensemble work that feels like a concept album even if there's no lyrics to link the tracks, with Anne Drummond on board again you know Kaplan has set his sights high again. Feeling almost like a jazz session from the 50s that let creativity run free to find it's way to suburban rec rooms, this is a solid listening date that's best enjoyed sitting down and letting it do it's thing for you. A winner throughout, this is the tonic jaded ears have been asking for. Well done.

INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE #33/various: Whether red-hot mama, white boy with the blues, guitar slinger or Piedmont descendant, the stars of tomorrow are all on board here with their award winning star turns that show how much vitality is still in blues' old bones and how everyone with chops is welcomed into the tent. A non stop blues party on a platter, there isn't a misfire in the bunch and this set let's you be the first in the know. Killer stuff throughout.

YUKO ITO/Esperanca: Backed by Helio Alves and his crew, Latin jazz comes to Japan by way of New York as this vocalist sets her sights on the southern sounds giving her treatment to solid stones in the Brazilian canon and more. A tasty, engaging jazz vocal date with a real focus on south of the Panama Canal, it's assuredly hot stuff throughout.

CARL FILIPIAK and the Jimi Jazz Band/What Now: Electric guitar jazz that rocks and rollicks, Filipiak and his cats know how to cut loose with radio friendly jams that get you rollicking along. A cat that knows his ax all too well, they push each other to higher heights with fresh, hot grooves. Fun stuff that's way too easy to take. Check it out.

JAMES WEIDMAN/Spiritual Impressions: There's a lot going on here in this piano vet's latest. Feeling not quite like cocktail jazz or after hours jazz, once you get into it, you hear this really is a set of spirituals that have been taken out the back door of the church to where the party is going on. Blowing the dust off of tunes that picked up the dust traveling on the underground railroad, this is a dandy ear opener that'll make you think as well as listen.

ROBERT KENNEDY/Closer to Home: A hopping B3 ace that knows how to give the rest of the band some steps up and delivers the goods here as this jazzy outing hits all the right notes throughout. A purely bad ass organ combo date, you can feel the grease dripping as it wends it's funky way home. Check it out.

JEFF RUPERT with Veronica Swift/Let's Sail Away: Don't come around here unless swing is your thing. The sax/vocal mix at the core of his set know how to make it sound classic with echoes of all your fave jazzbos of the past being leading lights on their way. Never being precious when it could easily lapse into it, this is a first rate ear opener where all anybody knows how to do is play it hot---even when laying back. High octane stuff that'll easily get you to shift your gears into high.

ERIC REED/A Light in the Darkness: The jazz piano vet comes in with a very personal album that almost recalls echoes of Oscar Brown at his most raw knuckled. Hitting a point in his life where he can stop and catch his breath and take stock of things, his feelings are universal feelings that have far reaching effect as displayed here. A quiet album for reflective times, Reed takes you places he's never been before to fine result. Check it out.

JIMMY ZEE BAND/What You See is What You Get: A blues growler with a loping guitar man behind him lurching things forward, this is hard core frat boy blues for white boys with the blues. Sharply written and played, this set hit's the target handily and serves up a good time for all. Well done.

Volume 41/Number 31
December 1, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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