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BALKUN BROTHERS/Redrova: Beware: this is blues like Led Zep was blues because they listened to Willie Dixon. A power thrash trio that doesn't reflect the sound of the punch press, they oddly can claim a blues heritage in their playing, just like all those white boys did in the 60s. Hard hitting stuff from a crew that knows how to walk away with all the trophies, this is the sound kids will be head banging to tomorrow.

BIG DAVE McLean/Faded by Not Gone: One of those old white boys that forgets he's not black, this long time Canadian blues man growls, bends strings and let's you know he's got he blues and he's paid his dues. Channeling John Lee Hooker, McLean really lays it on the line especially for those who miss the pure bred Delta sound. A wild journey through the past of a sort, this is for the hard core blues fan that knows the past is gone but would like to crash around in something like it for a bit. Check it out.

RADIO BIRDS/Contemporary American Slang: If Capricorn was still in business and Phil Walden was still alive, this band is a good example of the kind of local crew Walden would have plucked from the local gene pool and tabbed for stardom. Yep, in case you were wondering what the Capricorn sound would sound like 40 years later, here's your answer. Good old Southern rock as tempered by the landscape forever changed by Wal-Mart expansion really giving Joe South something to really lament about in going home.

HOLGER SCHEIDT GROUP/The Tides of Life: An equal mix of his love for early 60s Miles and early 60s Bluenote and his look at the human condition, Scheidt looks at those roiled times musically and puts them in perspective via a look thought the roiled mind. Psychological jazz? Without the explanations, it sounds like Scheidt's personal trip to the civil rights era church basement when the free jazz flowed freely. Another kind of journey through the past, but not really.

HARLEY CARD QUINTET/Hedgerow: A jazz guitarist from the frozen north, Card has been working it out on the road for a long time and the result is a smoking set that's a fast ball right down the middle for the straight ahead jazzbo that wants it served with the smoke and the fire. Leading a crew of up and comers looking to make marks of their own, this is a swinging, groovy set that comes at you from deep in the pocket. Hot stuff that hits all the right notes throughout.

TED HOWE JAZZ ORCHESTRA/Pinnacle: Mentored by Herb Pomeroy, Howe knows how to serve up stuff that sounds like classic Kenton or Ellington and do it with fewer musicians than it sounds like is on board. Howe also has a solid sense of who he is so this isn't just stepping to the fore and aping the masters. Capably learning from the past and leavening things with his own touches, this is mighty, contemporary big band music for the true aficionado. A killer set that doesn't let you down.

DAYNA KURTZ/Rise & Fall: It's kind of amazing that one of the greatest, contemporary, under the radar, female vocalists had to turn to crowd funding to get her new album launched. Doesn't anyone with a check book have ears any more? With her first album of original material in four years under her arm, she makes a mighty case for her status and why it should be rising. Having one of the most evocative voices to come out of your speakers, she can take anything to church, but she's also ready to leave early when necessary. The writing couldn't be more on point either. This is killer stuff you owe it to yourself to hear. Well done.

JP BLUES/Live at Darwin's: Young, white boy blues from Atlanta where he's merges indie energy with the blooz for the kind of sound the modern frat boy with atavistic genes can relate to. Lots of power trio choogle is on display and the sound is made for carrying through the American night.

JOSH NELSON/Exploring Mars: Nelson is still keeping the genre he created alive and well, sci-fi jazz. This time, using Ray Bradbury as his guide, he explores Mars. This guy might have really enjoyed doing this in the 50s as the opening track is loaded with a 50s vibe when jazz and poetry was in flower. Crazy stuff the average jazzbo might not get but those with left field tastes will be hooked.

NICK SANDERS TRIO/You Are a Creature: He came from Nawlins, found Fred Hersch to produce and shows his love of Monk with his atonal switchbacks making you dizzy as he careens along his merry way with his like minded trio that seems to have no use for convention. Crazy stuff for jazz malcontent ears.

Volume 38/Number 106
February 14, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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