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BRUCE KATZ BAND/Homecoming: Now that the Allman's have played their last gig, Katz has to start thinking about his future and he gives it serious thought with this swinging, jamband set that has him setting his B3 on fire and burning down the house. Killer stuff that'll take you back to those soulful nights at the frat house, Katz is so in the pocket it's almost scary. A seriously smoking, solid winner of a date. Hot stuff.

KEVIN CONLON The Groove Rebellion/In Transit: A Chicago bass player that got away and has been enjoying California for the last 30 years shows he knows how to soak up the sun and turn it back on us whether it's rays form LA or SF. Straight ahead jazz with a touch of blues, his Bay area pals know how to hold up their own and the session is a winner from start to finish. Easy going stuff with enough bounce to the ounce to make it fun to play over and over, Conlon is an original that understands what a groove is all about. Check it out.

JEAN LUC FILLON/Oboman Plays Cole Porter: This hyphenate could be the backbone of the entire French jazz world if he really wanted to be. A multi-instrumentalist, multi-hat wearer, he brings his oboe here to find that sweet spot between modern jazz and contemporary classical to deconstruct and reconstruct the seminal works by Cole Porter. A wild and wooly ride, this brings new skin for the old ceremony in fine style. With absolutely no need to be a fossil to appreciate what he's doing with Porter here, as long as you like instrumental music that gives you a challenge without leaving your chair, this release is your new home away form home. A real creative head's up of an ear opener, creativity with a purpose is alive and well here. Well done.

JOHANNES LINSTEAD/Midnight Rhumba: All it takes is just a few of the opening notes of this set for you to know that Linstead has done it again. With this special knack for making easy going music that isn't easy listening gift shop fodder, Linstead's music chases away the blues, the grays and everything but the hot reds and sunshine yellows. Going a bit farther a field from his usual Latin guitar work, the change up is a welcome change of pace served with the proper heat and speed to be enjoyed by all who dig contemporary instrumental music that is accessible while defining it's own genre. Killer stuff throughout.

PAT SENATORE TRIO/Ascensione: I don't normally associate grandpas with sessions on Fresh Sound but you have to make an exception for this cat who you've heard plenty of without knowing. A member of the Tijuana Brass, a gig that eventually led to him currently being the music director for Herb Alpert's jazz hangout, he's played bass with everyone for the last fifty years plus, and there's still no dust on him. A sitting down jazz set in the best possible way, Senatore is playing for the art and has more than that special something that let's you know he's a cat that understands art and doesn't use it for a crutch or excuse to be precious. A delightfully breath taking set, this is an old pro not ready to go gently into that good night. A winner throughout.

SOMEBODY ELSE'S NIGHTMARE/Strength and Kindness: Veteran bass player moves to Sonoma, gets some new pals and finally steps out for the shadows for his long overdue solo debut. Easy going jazz with nothing to prove and no chip on it's shoulder, leader Joe Holiday does a nice job on the transition from the back of the stage to the front. Certainly this is only a hint of the interesting things to come.

EMMA HILL/Denali: Roots from Alaska? You don't think about that too frequently. Does it differ from any other America that much? Yes and no. Hill's version is more folkie and less precious. A sincere back porch/homegrown set that really touches the listener, this is the shot in the arm the genre could always use more of. A tasty, well made set that goes a long way in reminding you that there's some heavy duty world music within our borders.

BOBBY "HURRICANE" SPENCER/Hurricane Unleashed: If you're going to make it in the greasy arena of SF soul/funk, you've really got to know how to bring it. Spencer isn't playing for Spencer Gifts crowd. Mixing soul, funk and blues into a mighty gumbo, this sounds like classic 60s Chicago, electric blues and it sounds like the real deal. Able to stand toe to toe with the sax greats of the last, Spencer can really burn a hot riff. Contemporary blues is in good hands here. Check it out.

PLACIDO DOMINGO/Encanto del Mar-Mediterranean Songs: This might be Domingo's crossover album but don't you dare go calling it his obligatory crossover album. Being rich and successful gives him the latitude to look like an itinerant balladeer playing at your fave foreign restaurant. Singing with the passion and grace you know he brings to everything he does, this is a marvelously low key set that burns with passion and fire throughout. Most assuredly this is something completely different that is going to catch you by surprise. Well done.

NATALIA ZUKERMAN/Come Thief, Come Fire: This record makes it seem funny that Taylor Swift wants ot star in a movie about Joni Mitchell because Zukerman seems to find that vortex where Mitchell and Swift collide. A classical music legacy that rebelled and found her shelter is leftly leaning, pissed off confessional folk music, Her chops and smarts can't be denied. A riveting entertainer even if she'd rather be seen as an itinerant folkie, Zukerman knows the pas de deux and delivers righteously. Check it out.

Volume 37/Number 4
November 4, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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