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Laura Rain and the Caesars’ Electrified (LRC) sees the soul singer on a mission to bring rootsy, gritty R&B back to Detroit, or at least to keep it here. This really is an incredible album; there’s a rockabilly edge to the music courtesy of the Caesars that adds a sexy edge to Rain’s already-powerful bluesy soul. There’s nothing schlocky here, no reliance on either doe-eyed nostalgia or contemporary polish. This is gloriously honest, hard-hitting music and the frills are due to the lack of them.
I’m all jazzed up after the Detroit Jazz Festival this weekend, so I’m happy to listen to The Contender (Clef), the new CD from Diego Rivera, Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone and Improvisation at Michigan State University. Lively and without compromise, Rivera’s playing is joyful and very free. His band is both tight and loose (somehow), and the cover of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” is glorious.
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