RECORD REVIEWS MUSIC
I Duglas 1’. Stewart And Company: Frankenstein (Vinyl Japan) It‘s not what you‘d call a monster of an album. but it is composed of bits and pieces slotted together to make a dysfunctional whole. so as the metaphor for his life that he suggests it is. Duglas T. Stewart's soloish oddity at least conveys the erratic nature of day-to-day existence in our small corner of the universe. Or something. Most of it is as tmengaging as being forced to look at an old photo album when you don't know anyone in the pictures. but Katrina Pastel's ghostly rendition of ‘lnto The Moon' and the cocktail shufﬂe of 'l‘ll Be Your Baby Tonight' are worthy of your time. (Fiona Shepherd)
I Jonathan Fire'Eater: Tremble Under Boom lights (Deceptive) Now this is a whole lot of alcohol-soaked mini- album fun. The oddly- named Jonathan
Fire“ Eater are. like Gretschen Hoffner or Rachel Statnp. a band not a person. These five US East Coasters are the kind of shabbin btrt somehow stylishly attired individuals you might want to chance upon in sotne subterranean saloon doing some blues lire- and-brimstone thang.
Obviously they dig Nick ‘ Cave big-style. They do a l coherent version of The | Birthday Party which is l great for people who don‘t i quite buy the Cave-is- ' genius line. I've seen a photo of them and sadly
none of them play double
bass. Still. can't have it
all. (Fiona Shepherd)
I Built To Spill Perfect From Now On (City
Slang) ‘And tonight. Built ' To Spill could very well
be . . . The New Cocteau Twins!“ From the doom- laden bass intro to the I band‘s ‘Perfect From Now On'. to the doom-laden percussive frenzy which closes the album. they haven‘t crammed in too many laughs. Not that this | should put you off unduly. f A little melancholy did nobody no harm. Apart frotn Kurt Cobain. maybe. And Morrissey. And Vincent Van Gogh. ‘And you'd better not be sad/You'd betterjust
Built To Spll: smiling through the tears. Sort
enjoy the luxury of sympathy.‘ is a typical lyric. That said. the collection is rather lovely. Terrible name. though. (Brian Donaldson)
I Trans Am Surrender To The Night (City Slang) A three-and-a-halllminute guitar solo may not be everyone’s idea of a right way to kick off~15 minutes of quality listening time. Me. I‘m a sucker for it. And if you want to rekindle an image oflamie Lee Curtis running away from a big bloke with a big knife. then have an earful of the second number. Trans Am cram in almost every aural genre into this set of evocative instrumentals (not the jazz guitar next time. please) and manage to convince you that there is more substance to them than that Rush/Heart/Starship title would initially suggest. (Brian Donaldson)
Sonny Rollins produced one of his best studio albums in last year's highly recommended Plus 3 (Milestone). and it is now followed by the equally recommendable Silver City. an excellent two Cl) retrospective of his 25 years on the label. From jazz standards to epic calypso. funky fusion to ballads. it captures the tenorman‘s titanic presence beautifully. As a distillation of the period it would be hard to beat. and may well send you out in search of some of the original albums. Extended workouts dominate another two CD set. featuring Phil Woods and Gordon Beck captured Live At The Wig/nine Hall: Tlte Complete Concert (JMS). Woods plays alto sax and clarinet with all his usual poise and profuse invention. while the still undervalued Beck responds in kind at the piano. Away from the actual concert setting. it is maybe a little too much of a good thing. but there is no argument about the quality of the music laid down by these two
distinguishedmusicians. i The album features a version ofJoe Henderson‘s ‘lsotope'. which is heard at the opposite end of the sortie spectrum on the saxophonist's very first big band album. helpfully entitled Big Band (Verve). The maestro is riding high these days. artd is able to call on a predictably stellar outfit for another glistening. inventive career landmark. The Orani Symphonette are a . quartet of cool studio ' dudes whose credits include the likes of Tom Waits and PJ Harvey. but they ttrnt their collective attentions to the classic tunes of Henry Mancini on Plays Mancini (Gramavision). Their irreverent but affectionate treatments ofchestnuts like ‘The Pink Panther Theme' arid ‘Moon River' are among the more off- the-wall highlights of last year. Oscar Peterson is teamed up with two younger horn hot-shots in a more conventional idiom on Meet Roy Hurgmt'e Altrl Ralph Mrmre (Telarc). Like the label's similarly conceived ilay Brown set Sartre any Best Friends.
it offers very satisfying
jazz in a mainstream vein and. if the sparks rarely ﬂy. the musical standard is impeccable. Both Peterson and Brown shine on The Jazz Soul Of ()sr'ar l’etersmr/Afjinily (Verve). a good value re- issue of two vintage I962 albums on a single CD. The Best Oinmy Williams (Blue Note) is drawn from the late 80s. but you can check out the drummer‘s current thinking in an impressionistic orchestral fusion groove on his latest disc. Wilderness (Ark 24). The compilation contains his version of Lennon and McCartney‘s ‘Blackbird’. but producer Bob Belrlen has gone for a whole album‘s worth irt .S'trait'berrv Fields ( Blue Note). with slick and funky vocal contributions from the likes of Cassandra Wilson. Holly Cole and Dianne Reeves. Finally. just space to note two very worthwhile albums by European artists. guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel‘s trio set Perspective (Verve). with Marc Johnson and Paul Motion. and the tools Sclavis Sextet's exploratory. inventive Les Vtulences rle Rameatr (ECM). (Kenny Mathieson)
Hip Hop Don’t Stop (Solid State) contains thirteen years of rap and hip hop glory captured on a whopping quadruple vinyl pack or a more modern dottble Cl). All the party classics are here. from Strgarhill Gang and Eric B 8: Rakim to [)e [.11 Soul. House ()f Pain. arid Tribe Called Quest. It's quite predictable btrt it makes sense for those who haven't got the singles.
Warren G’s lxmk Back Over Your Shoulder ( Def Jam) marks a welcome return for the rapper who we last saw with bad soul girl Adina Howard on the single ‘What's Love Got To Do Willi lt‘. .-\s you‘d expect froru the Ci-man. it's a downtempo affair. highlighting his quiet. slo- llo delivery. The cover version theme continues. picking tip frotn the likes of The Fugees and Chantay Savage (what's the problem people. can't be bothered to write your own stuff?) Bob Marley gets the 90s treatment again as Warren (3 turns ‘I Shot The Sheriff' into a sleepy rap classic. Overall. it‘s a pretty good album.
loud Becords’ lift/to l)a Rue/tits compilation. Seventeen hip hop and R 'n' B cuts. ranging from the dark oppressiveness of those scary Wu Tang Clan
chaps ( ‘(‘Rli.-\M' ) to the singalorig almost poppy ‘iiveryday And
liveryntght’ by the lovely-
voieed Yvette Michelle. Also feattrred are hip hoppers of the moment Mobb Depp ( ‘l)rop A Gem ()n 'l'hem' ). the httmourous Alkaholics (‘()nly When You're Drtmk' ) and Wu Tanger Chef Raekwon. It’s an excellent mix of tracks. providing an accurate picture of the state of hip
hop today. Something for
the hardcore and sortiething for the
Concrete iiecords’ .S'trrit‘lrtrallv Surutil compilation checks the current vogue for big beats and breaks (Dub Pistols. Death in Vegas. l’ropellerhcads. Fattbtiy Slirn etc . . . ) that is
Warren-6: shot the sheriff appafeﬂllt
attempting to sweep throttgh dance music. it's a thoroughly modern \(illlttl. taking irt bits of electro. hip hop and techno along the way. The problems creep in when those pesky guitars grate into the melting pot. ttrrning a potentially funky Ct)l‘.tbili;tllt)li into an tinsubtle indie/dance
noise. Having said that. it does merit the odd dance ' manoeuvre. a toe tap here arid a head nod there.
Vaguer exciting bttt one wonders how far this stuff can go. Those Chemical Brothers have a lot to answer for.
()h. and if you haven‘t heard. Daft Punk’s astonishing debut Httltlt‘lt'ln‘k (Virgin) is out now. It‘s a stortner. (Jim
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The List 24 Jan-6 Feb 1997 43