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Improvijazzation Nation 

Issue # 50 REVIEWS:


Cesium:137 - THE FALL:  Liners say this group name is 100% pure poison.  Psychedelic.  Ho-hum mix band is more like it.  Yeah, the mixes are done well.. but SIX of thee same zong right inna' row?  Bit much, methinks.  Itz' beatful!  Itz' GOT rhythm!  Itz' very danceable!  So, wotz' thee PROB-lem, yer' say?  The SAME song.... THE SAME song... THE SAME SONG!  Can't deal with that amount of th' same SONG!  Mix some MORE mixes in there next time, but make it 6 (or more) DIFFERENT songs!  Sorry, Charlies... it's not a full "thumbs down", but I can't hang wit' all the same mix, either!  Contact at Tonedeaf Records, POB 1738, Philadelphia, PA 19105-1738 or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj

Mars Lasar - KARMA:  Deep, moving and intriguing.  These are the words that come to mind on the first few bars of "Great Beast of Wisdom", the first cut on this cosmically significant album.  Lasar weaves clearly distinguishable movement in to the music(s) of the world (many different styles are represented here) with layered vocals that enchant and attract.  Rhythm and high energy (without the hype) make for an extremely pleasant listen all the way through the album.  I'm sure many will classify this as "ambient", but (though it has some characteristics along those lines) it is much more far reaching!  The listening is (much) like a "heavy" book... your ears won't be able to turn it off.  Though this is our first listen to this artist, we are surely looking forward to more releases... it's good enough to rate a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, & that is SAYING something for a "first spin".  Contact through Creative Service Company, 4360 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918... also via e-mail to    Rotcod Zzaj

Harrison Edwards - PARALLEL PATH:  There is some very energetic and powerful acoustic guitar work on this splendid CD.  Some strong orchestral influences are also present.  This is Harrison's first album, but as the liners reflect, it has been "years in the making" (we hope to hear much more from this artist).  You can hear that from the opening bars... slow (but confident) build to crescendo, very solid compositions that will easily stand the tests of time.  The recording is flawless, with a beautiful weave between the acoustic lines and the strings.  Edwards has also (very successfully) integrated strong bass and percussives, which make for a far more interesting listen than much of the "new age" ambient stuff floating around these days.  A cup of wine, some cheese & a powerful stereo system playing music like this might change your life for the better!  This will not "turn your crank" if you're looking for improvised "out" music... but for those who want some sweet listening, it is excellent music that rates a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from this reviewer.  For more information/purchase, visit   Rotcod Zzaj

Global Collective - RED SANDS DREAMING:  Think Australia, somewhere in (what you imagine as) "the Outback".  Don't expect ME to be able to write word pictures of thee turf there for you... as it's one of the few areas I've not been to in the world... but if you want to get a much more accurate (sonic) impression of what it must be like there, you will want to listen over & over again to this unique and tasteful blending of aboriginal singers/rhythm makers & masterful wizards of the electronica genre!  Ian Faith's vision makes this (just) th' kind of music th' (witch) doctor ordered!  While I say that (a bit) tongue-in-cheek, I'm more serious than not about it... this is the kind of timeless/ageless experience that the language of music is based upon.  A TRUE  "keeper", this CD will spin again & again in th' Zzaj household!  Some spots come awfully close to sounding like '70's Bowie (mebbe' he was a fellow-traveler down there with Mel Gibson?), but ALL people(s) everywhere can find something magick in this music.  Comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by this reviewer!  Go to to learn more about (& purchase) this album!  Right NOW, volkz!   Rotcod Zzaj

Ray - ETHEREAL JOURNEY:  Ray Leonard is the source of this inspirational ambient musical journey.  Very pleasant "floating" music that will quickly carry you into orbit & in to the nether regions of outer space that he intended you to reach.  Lots of string sounds, eerie synths & bells  for your ears to explore.  Some of the patterns are instantly recognizable, others distinctly Mr. Leoanard's.  This is his first album; it gets high marks for production & "listenability", I'd say.  You shouldn't expect to be transported in any "high boost" manner... his is a "slow build" to apogee, & well worth the wait... you will feel good after taking the journey he created for you.  Well worth listening to, I give this a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  You can get more information at or mail order it via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Rent Romus - PKD VORTEX PROJECT:  It's an interesting concept, especially for (rabid?) science fiction fans... not just "any old" improv, but improv that uses PKD (Phillip K. Dick) as it's source of inspiration.  Any fans of improvised music(s) who have read some of Dick's masterful works will realize right away that the musician has to be (not only) a skillful improvisor, but at a sorta' (mentally) "universal" level in order to pull this off.  Well, Romus & crew (Doug Carroll on electric cello, Joel Harrison on electric guitar, Dave Mihaly on drums/percz & Tom Nunn on electro-acoustic inventions) are clearly at levels that are further out than most of us (as players).  "On the edge", if you will!  There were one or two (very brief) moments when the melody line slipped in to a childhood nursery rhyme, but that was only (maybe) one tenth of a percent of the entire album... the rest of the compositions are clearly original cosmic visions of the vortex inspired by PKD.  Rent's reeds (alto/soprano sax) have a bold (almost guttural) quality about them that lures you into the depths.  Some of the best improvisation I've heard this year... merits our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - in fact, it gets the "PICK" of this issue for "best conceptual improv experience of 2001".  Contact at Edgetone, c/o Gert Rude Music, POB 2281, El Cerrito, CA 94530, on the website at or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Joan Huntsberry (& friends) - UNDER THE JEWELBERRY TREE:  What a refreshing pace change... children's music on this CD.  The CD wasn't very clear on playing credits (or the print was too small for me to find it), but Joan has pulled together a group of highly talented players who are equally comfortable in a variety of styles (all the way from Jamaican to rawk-a-billy to jazz)!  The real deal is that she is able to use her high energies & clear vocal talent to convey a (VERY) strong sense of what music is really supposed to be about - FUN  (the cut "Bugs" is a GREAT example of that)!!!  The liners advertise this as "music for the family", & there's no doubt that's true.  Is it an album that will make it way to the "top" of the Billboard charts?  Probably not - but it SHOULD!  Is it music that "breaks new ground"?  Not in any traditional sense (meaning that the B-I-G companies probably won't "promote" it far & wide), but it is exactly what the criteria for "new ground" should be.  For music lovers everywhere, this is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by this reviewer (especially to teach kids what music CAN be)!  I'd love to see/hear her pair up with my musical therapist friend (in Olympia, Washington), John Alkins.  Visit to get more information, or email her at   Rotcod Zzaj

Jugalbandi - YELLOW STAR MAILING LIST:  Describing the music on this CD as "rock/jazz fusion" doesn't exactly come across during the first sections on track 1... sounds more (at first) like a dirge affair, based on a military-sounding march... but listening on through the entire CD (something that's important) will make you realize that this is a well planned (& well executed) build of energies!  Greg Segal's heavily layered guitar work (check his INTERVIEW at Bret Hart's GUITARTISTS pages) transports you into unexplored sonic terrains, & Hyam Sosnow's drums/percz are the driving force for navigation thereof.  It would be EXTREMELY interesting to hear Segal/Sosnow pair up with the Detroit Improv Duo, since th' orientation is so heavy on "immediate" music (improv, for the unitiated).  There are many stretches on the album that make me wonder if Greg hasn't (at some point) consorted with my old guitarmeister friend Eric Hausmann.  I'm highly impressed & we will look forward to many more sonic adventures from "Jugalbandi".  For fans of totally original & adventurous music everywhere, this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact at Phantom Airship Records, POB 82525, Portland, OR 97282-0525, on the Jugalbandi site, or via email to  Rotcod Zzaj

Bret Hart/Don Campau - DUETS, volume 2:  Well, you put underground masters together, & you can't expect anything less than guitar pandemonium!  This CD has music(s) far different from anything I've ever heard Don doing (& I've reviewed a LOT of his works, as well as Bret's).  The word that comes to mind (even on my favorite trak, "lot") is thick... don't know (for sure) why, but I had a flashback to some STP I once took.  This music is different from anything you've ever heard Hart do before, too... both of these (almost legendary) figures in the home music community are exploring here, & as regular readers here know, there is nothing more enchanting to my (twisted) ears than music that stretches them!  There is some "over-hum", so don't look for a "glossy" album.  All in all, though, the adventuresome listener will find (sonic) waves they can surf all th' way to Hawaii (& back) on... gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact through the WWW pages at (where you can purchase the CD with your credit card) or at InstrumenTales Records, 609 Morehead St., Eden, NC 27288, USA   Rotcod Zzaj

Expedite Music - EM:  Jim Konen has been rippin' up hiz' studio lately... as I understand it, this CD just sorta' "flowed" out of his fingers in an afternoon (or two).  Since I've played with him (in the "Detroit Improv Duo" sessions), I have a really strong sense of the circles (directions) he tends to move in - but (as with any good music), he surprised me.  Many new rhythms here, a much more "live" sound on the drums/percz... more to the point, though, this comes across as v-e-r-y relaxed in playing style.  Jim has a special talent for combining musical elements that other players never hear... downtown Mo-Town jungle/techno/robotikz with high-end guitar stylings that (while familiar sounding) are uniquely his own!  "EM" will allow you to escape the terror(s) of our times... without losing the energy needed to keep you MOVING!  In my mind, this is (also) a new direction for improvised work, too... more electronic than some might prefer, but something you'll find it E-Z to get yer' earz' USED TO!  Gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all listeners who enjoy accessible improvised guitar fun!  Contact him via email at   Rotcod Zzaj

Kakalla - THE VOICE OF BLOOD:  There is some wonderful integration of improvised jazz & (just like "Ripley", believe it or not), Balkan music(s).  Thomson Kneeland sent it our way, & are we happy he did!  Kneeland's bass is prominent (as it should be), but all of the quintet (Mike Connors, drums, percussion; Jerry Sabatini, trumpet; Eric Hofbauer, guitar; & Jason Hunter; tenor sax) are given their opportunity to shine!  Some albums I've heard that try to incorporate the musics of other cultures in to jazz tend to "try too hard" to make it sound like the other country/region... none of that here... it's strong/solid original jazz composition that has the "flavor" of other influences.  The thing that comes through in every cut is the joy in life & th' living of it... takes (far) more than just talent to accomplish that - the players have got to feel the directions the music(s) are taking them in.  I'll tell ya', volkz', this is some ALIVE jazz... gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & the PICK of this issue for "best improvised jazz"!  Contact at Weltschmerz Records, (Thomson Kneeland), POB 443, Upton, MA 01568, on their site at  or via email to  Rotcod Zzaj

Dr. Craig White and Anthony Miles -  MOTHER & BABY:  Dr. White wrote the booklet that comes with this CD.... Mr. Miles performed the music.  Two 30 minute tracks of relaxing & soothing music... we should drill holes in the head of every terrorist in the world (particularly those about 3 years old) & force-feed them the full 60 minutes.  Those who were older would probably come out of the experience with (more) love in their hearts, or totally insane.  Though my commentary may sound (perhaps) a bit harsh, I do believe that if children had the benefit of music like this, there would be much less hatred in the world.  From this reviewers standpoint, the compositions are a bit stereotypical, but there's no doubt Anthony had a clear vision of how to (sonically) paint beautiful and comforting vistas.  I give it a RECOMMENDED.  Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is    ) Rotcod Zzaj

Matt Turner/John Harmon - OUTSIDE IN:  As (many of) you may know, I've listened to Matt's beautiful cello playing for many years now... as (my) grandma would say - "My, how he's grown!"  There is more body & depth in this cello than I've ever heard before.  John's keyboards are fluid, serving as solid/strong foundations for some of the sweetest improvisation your ears will ever hear; though the compositions are not "scorchers", rhythmically, you can feel vibrant energy shining like light!  They compliment each other supremely, and it's clear they're communicating (like the best players always do) on levels that most humans only ever get a glimpse of in a lifetime.  Many cello/piano combinations tend to get "bogged down" on similar albums - not HERE; joy comes bubbling across to the listener... but without the perils of "sweet/smooth" jazz (even though many of the tunes are standards-based).  The recording is as clear as a virgin ocean.  This album gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating for jazz aficionados the world over!  Contact through Braithwaite & Katz via email to or on the site!   Rotcod Zzaj

Donna Lee Saxophone Quartet - DONNA LEE SAXOPHONE DEMO DISC:  Zdenko Ivanusic (who plays alto & soprano in Croatia) sent this demo CD after some email exchanges.  These four have learned their lessons well... & haven't suffered any "loss of style" in the process.  My favorite track on the demo was Wayne Shorter's "Footprints"... the full body of the quartet formation can be heard, in a loose framework that lets you hear their range clearly!  They come across with a "big band" sound on a lot of the cuts, something you'd probably kinda' expect from an all-reed group.  Though I'm not a big fan of "all-reed" groups, exceptionally high energy is displayed through & through - the group gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating for all who love well played jazz!  Contact on the site at or via email to     Rotcod Zzaj

Ellis Dee - PARENTAL ADVISORY:  Pseudonymic to thee n'th degree, this album is actually performed by a nameless super-drummer from th' great Northwest who ain't rich & has no acquaintance with my long-time friend norman.... 'course, even with th' subtrefuge, there's no doubt after listening to some of th' insanities on here that good Baptists everywhere will go on a witch hunt (even if it takes 10 centuries) to pry loose th' identity & HANG this porker in th' public square (even if only in effigy).  With titles like "Basket Full of Shit", "Poison The Well" & "Drugs Are Good", you'll soon hear why.   Yeah, that rich guy plays some ODD rhythms against some various stylings... all th' way from hoochie-coochie blooz-rawkin' (on "BFoS") down to ska-jazz (slightly bent variety on "Revolution"), you'll find yer'self bein' enCHANTed... this Ellis character has been known to exert a LOT of influence on the Y.O.A. (Youth of Amurrika) - you know, colorless, odorless, tasteless & all that!  Stretches on here that truly remind one of Thomas Dolby... s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out & vibrant energies, wit' a TWIST; even shades of Zappa in there at times!  Strange azzit' may seem to Mr. Dee, this gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, 'cept for Baptists in kru-sade mode!  Contact at Plain Brown Wrapper Music, 25 NW 23rd Place, Suite 6, Portaland, OR 97210-5999 or email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Jim Wilson - CAPE OF GOOD HOPE:  Another divergent turn in styles... this is high-end & slick music that you'll soon hear on PBS specials across the land!  Beautiful compositions that feature Wilson's wonderful keyboards.  He's "up there" with some "stars"... the album features guest players like David Sanborn, Stephen Bishop & Dan Fogelberg... pretty impressive.  This is not for those readers who are looking for "out" improv... it is, however, solid composition and very, VERY relaxing.  For lovers of inspirational music around the world, this is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Track 5, Discovery, is my favorite cut, simple but powerful!  Contact through Creative Service Company, 4360 Emerald Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918... also via e-mail to   Rotcod Zzaj

E Z Pour Spout - DON'T SHAVE THE FEELING:  This CD is GREAT!!!  Combine elements of phunk&phusion, jazz it up a lil', & pretend yer' onna' Frank Zappa majick karpet ride!  Solid recording & even firmer playing mark a turning point for rock-based Avant jazz... this stuff don't even SMELL FUNNY... & it definitely is NOT dead!  Heavy KICK-AZZ bass lines from J.A. Granelli are (literally) BLOWIN' th' press kit sheets all around th' desktop... high energy that just won't QUIT!  Track 8, "Politician", is my favorite track, jus' TEARZ' th' ROOF off!  Curtis Hasselbring's trombone is right UP there at th' top, but all th' players are contributors to th' mayhem.  You can't exactly label it anything, this group has it's own original sound, & it's gonna' take OVER th' land!  If it impresses you even half as much as it did me, you'll agree that it's MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED listening!  H-O-T property!  Contact through Braithwaite & Katz via email to or on the site!   Rotcod Zzaj

Satoko Fujii Trio - JUNCTION:  'tis up to th' listener to figure out what points are intersecting & which are dis-jointed... BUT, improv fans everywhere will find this one of the most highly energetic (& enjoyable) improv trios (anywhere) on the planet today!  Our ears are not strangers to Fujii's expert keyboard work, & Jim Black (drums, pianica) and Mark Dresser (bass) only add to the excitement!  Satoko's husband Natsuki Tamura joins in with Melodica on track 4 (Ninepin) - & it's a SCORCHER!  In fact, this whole album is LAVA-HOT throughout!  It's not th' kind of "hot" that signifies "insanity" (though there are moments that approach it...), but it is very improvised.  "Maturely free" is the way I'd describe Satoko's piano on this outing... this is definitely NOT "pseudo-improv", but there is also a sense of freedom conveyed through her majickal hands that is rarely heard these days.  Merits a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of well-crafted & played improvised music everywhere.  Simply a WONDERFUL album that will spin frequently in your player.  Contact Ewe Records, 3-4-7, #301, Minami Aoyamu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 107-0062, via email to or on their site at    Rotcod Zzaj

Horrendous/Hart - DUETS, VOLUME ONE:  As many who read this 'zine know, Bret has been on quite a CD "crusade" over the last year or two... good for our EARS, I'll tell ya'!  This latest venture with Ben Horrendous features (some of) the best recording quality I've (ever) heard on InstrumenTales releases.  Horrendous plays bass (furnished all the original tracks) & Hart performs on numerous strings & percussives.  As always, "new" improvised string-work(s) impress your ears, sometimes soothing, often outrageous & ALWAYS fun!  This is not garden-variety stringbean stuph, it is HIGH quality work!  Bret has been one of my favorites for many years now, & this is one of the most relaxed playings I've (ever) heard him do!  I believe that's helped on a great deal by the expert talent & pacing that Horrendous lays down for him, but it's clear that these two "struck a chord" together.  Lots of intricate little moments, but no "little" playing!  This clearly merits a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all into new sonic terrain!  Contact at 609 Moreland, Eden, NC 27288 or via email to    Rotcod Zzaj

The Left Coast Improv Group - JIMZEEN:  W-O-W!!!  This really IS "improv month".  My playing partner Ernesto Diaz-Infante is a part of this quintet, but reedist Jim Ryan sent the CD in for review.  SUPER tension//release stuff, all pure improv with very intricate stylings.  Shoko Hikage's koto (orb-viously) gives the montage strong oriental flavors, but as (most) improv listeners know, this meshes well with the fluid nature of string-driven interplay.  There is a level of energy here that is seldom found in music of this nature... the recording makes it feel like you're right THERE - and that is difficult to do - of course, that has to come from the significant talent in this grouping, too.  Plan on listening through the whole album (headphones recommended), without interruptions... if you do that, you will find yourself coming back to this one often!  This is a keeper... gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!  Contact Jim Ryan, c/o Jimzeen, 550 24th St., Apt 1014, Oakland, CA 94612 or via email to    Rotcod Zzaj

Guinea Pig - OUT OF TOWN:  Described as "raw alternative jazz CD breathing new life into an aging jazz ethic", this is one shining star of an improv album.  Names you'll recognize (if you listen to even a little improv) like Rent Romus (alto & soprano, piccolo & voice) and Doug Carroll (electric cello)... also features Drew Gardner (drums) & Tony Passarell (soprano/tenor & pocket trumpet).  Some "standard sounds" that are truly twisted as part of the "new life" thing, I suspect.  It's a live recording that's produced in fine fashion!  This Rent guy is a character & he's one helluva reed player!  I enjoyed the opener, "Dark Highway" the most out of the 5 cuts (all except 2 cuts are over 10 minutes), as the strongest rhythmic feel, as well as the beautiful melding of instruments!  If you haven't listened to any Edgetone releases yet - you OUGHT to start here!  Gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating!  Contact at at POB 2281, El Cerrito, CA 94530, or via email to

Mama Sissoko - SOLEIL DE MINUIT:  Mandingo-based music on this joyful CD in from Musik International and Tinder Records!  Sissoko if from Mali & plays some wonderful guitar.  High-spirits and unbounded energy... when combined with his deep-throated vocals, it will make your feet (and your heart) dance!  When he was (very) much younger, he played percussion in an ensemble his father had, & that comes through clearly in both his guitar and vocal work... rhythmic excitement through & through.  The tunes are from many different cultural roots, but Mama makes it recognizable as music that anyone could quickly fall in love with.  I'm very favorably impressed & we will look forward to other albums from this strong talent.  Gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who want something a little different!  Contact at Tinder Records, 4380 Redwood Hwy, Suite B-10, San Rafael, CA 94903, on their WWW pages at or via email to   Rotcod Zzaj

Ted Killian - FLUX AETERNA:  I got this in from a couple of places... mainly, my playing pal Mark Kissinger sent a copy of it to me (reporting that it had also been sent to Bret Hart for review)... I can HEAR why the perpetrators sent it to Mark... heavy, HEAV-EE guitar work from Ted, in some fashion similar to works I've heard Kissinger do before.  The guitars simply S-O-A-R, reaching heights you couldn't find on the BEST trip you've ever taken.  Take a hit of THIS, tho', it's much more edifying.  There was (very) little in the way of explana on the jacket, should be more info to let the listener know what's going on... that's only a minor krit, tho', the music makes UP for anything lost from that.  You will hear elements of Beck (as in Jeff), even Hendrix in there, but it is CLEARLY a style all Ted's own - a style reminiscent of the furthest reaches of our galaxy... LIGHT YEARS ahead of it's time!  Highly adventurous musics that come (without question) MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by this reviewer.  Contact at    Rotcod Zzaj

Ray's Music Exchange - TURANGA:  Bump'n funk that takes me back to Yo-high-yo Players & such.  Lotza' HORNZ' in here, & some fine blues organ.  I can even hear some strains o' AWB (Average White Band) in there.  No matter who you compare it to, it's not hard to tell that it's that good ol' "R.M.E." sound!  There is a real variety of style on this album... not just "smooth jazz", or "rotten rawkin'"; there's even a cut with Kalimba on here!  The essence of this music is that while it's "accessible" (especially for jazz fans), it's not stock "play by the numbers" stuff.  Heavy onna' groove, with a dash o' raw mixed in at times, it'll get yer' blood-a-movin'!  It doesn't come anywhere close to "improv", in the radical sense, but there are moments where they go on out (just) a bit!  This comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact at, or at 6921 Stockton Ave., El Cerrito, CA 94530; also via email to  (or )    Rotcod Zzaj

Claire Ritter - RIVER OF JOY:  Beautiful and most relaxing piano pieces (primarily) with the listener's heart in mind.  Claire's fingers paint some beautiful sonic tapestries.  This isn't "just jazz", it isn't "clearly classical"... simply Ritter, I'd say!  She uses the full range of the keyboard without sacrificing (even) a moment of clarity.  The expressiveness in her style just reaches out & grabs the listener, but in a very pleasant & personal way, not at all intrusive.   If you are looking for mad scientist keyboard improvisation, you'll have to search elsewhere... this is very much "solid" piano work that will appeal in many different ways to a broad range of listeners.  On the other hand, there is a great deal of energy in Ritter's work, especially in the creative flow of communication to the one listening.  I enjoyed it very much & give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact through  or email    Rotcod Zzaj

Mike Bowman & Scott Carr - EGG-O-MATIC:  Here is some heavy homemade music (the BEST kind) that will whip you right into that frenzied state you (always) wanted to be in!  Mike is also known as "MJB", & he's been in th' "underground home-taping" scene ever since I can remember (& I remember quite a lot about that).  Catchy little riff-tunes that incorporate innuendoes of insanity in among what you think is (like) a reg'lar tune.  Some very interesting spoken-word woven in, not "trashy cut-up" stuff at all.  Only drawback is - there's only FOUR CUTS on here... & even with that short a repertoire - you WILL want MORE!  Phun & phunky, all mixed (like an eggbeater gone nutz') in a pleasant listening bag!  Gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any who are aurally searching for fun, travel & adventure in their music!  Contact at 42 Kalina Dr., Rhinebeck, NY, 12572, via email to or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj

Refined Records - PARISIAN HONEYMOON SUITE:  'k, volks... think Django... you know, as in "red-hot string swing"!  There, you've got it.  Some wonderful assemblages of sweet strings in jazz mode, this CD is one of the most relaxing musical experiences I've had!  There are too far many artists/venues on the comp to note them all, but by way of example... Babik Reinhardt, son of Django, plays some sweet guitar solos.  Kick off your shoes & get ready to join Gene Kelly in some kind of light & fluffy musical dream, eh?  It's kind of like that, music to drive by, iron clothes by or dance the night away to... because it's a collection of so many, there's not a lot of "individual artist" focus, so the album doesn't stand out in one's mind, but the music will definitely hold it's own.  This gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us, especially for listeners who love some string in their swing!  Contact at Musik International, 154 Botasso Rd., Boulder, CO 80302 (e-mail is    ) Rotcod Zzaj

Lord Litter - JUST BLAME EDDIE:  Believe it or not, this "Orange Entropy" release is my first listen to Mister Litter... hmmmm... pretty dam KEWL!  Thought I was listening to straight-up Eddy Arnold, with a twist of Johnny Cash tossed in fer' good measure... lots of strum-acoustic guitar, very country-oriented on the opening piece, "Love Freak", but then (in the last minute) there's a really nice lil' organ solo that creeps in there.  Litter has a majickal element to his composition, harmonies snuck in all over the place, intricate sonic surprises that are most pleasant.  His vocals are strong, sort of a cross between Willie Nelson & Tom Waits, if you can dig that!  Don't miss this one... all you home-taper fans out there will want to have this one... it's bound to become a collectible!  For those who enjoy well-composed/high energy music with a folk/country bent, this is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact at Orange Entropy Records, c/o Stephen Zimmerman, 327 Evanston Dr., East Windsor, NJ 08520, or directly from the artist, via email to  or on his site, at   Rotcod Zzaj

Claire Ritter - CASTLES IN THE AIR:  We recently reviewed the first CD in this dual-release by Ms. Ritter ("River of Joy") very favorably.  As often happens when I'm going back through the stacks of CD's waiting for review, I realized that this was yet another "overlooked gem".  The CD features Claire's wonderful keyboards in a (pretty much) straight-ahead jazz mode with many other artists.  She has a very sensitive touch, & the cuts reach deep into the blues mode.  Sonically, it's one of the best recorded I've heard in months, & will provide hours of relaxation for the jazz aficionados among us!   Claire is an artist to "keep your ear on"... she'll be on the scene for years to come.  if you're looking for "out" jazz, you'll need to move on to another catalog... this is more traditional in focus, but (still) captures some moments of true creative composition.  For the jazz fans among our readership, this clearly merits our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating!  Contact through  or email    Rotcod Zzaj

Methuselah Junky Browne - CLOUD:  Those who've been 'round th' underside for a few years will recognize the acronym right away... MJB, of course.  What an INTERESTING CD this is (like Red Riding Hoods' gramma' woulda' said, right?).  Pounding rhythmic undercurrents under a synthweave on the openening cut that takes the listener off into the "cloud"?  Somethin' like that, no doubt.  Lots of variety, too... "Sunset #9" intrudes on th' turf of th' rawkers, verzure (tho' it fades orf into cricket-land).  "Upon Discovering The Lair Of The Secret Beach Boys Fans" has some great jazzy guitar sections on it!  Th' tunes are all fairly short, the longest clocking in at 4:35.  MJB knows how ta' "rope yer' in", tho'... just enuff toon ta' leave yer' sayin' "GIMME' mo'"!  A thoroughly enjoyable home-produced CD that rates a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  If you're lookin' for somethin' (just) a lil' different, GET THIS!   Contact at 42 Kalina Dr., Rhinebeck, NY, 12572, via email to or on the site at   Rotcod Zzaj

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