When I Look In Your Eyes (Verve)
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Singer and pianist Diana Krall is one of the hot properties on the American jazz scene, and if this album represents a stab at reaching a wider audience, it does so With real class and no compromise. She drops the improvisational temperature a little, but more than compensates with a cool, sophisticated delivery and delicious swing feel. Most of the songs are classic standards, but she succeeds in giving them a fresh spin right from the opening cut, an unusual Jobim- esque treatment of 'Let's Face The Music And Dance’. As well as her core trio With guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Ben Wolfe, she employs superb new string arrangements by the great Johnny Mandel. (KM)
A Long Time Ago (ECM) were air is:
It would be hard to name anybody currently’producing more refined and inventive jazz records than trumpeter Kenny Wheeler. His music possesses the unmistakable authority that comes with a mature and rounded artistic vision. He largely ignores the conventional but often hollow excitements of the acrobatic, hard blowmg face of jazz creation in favour of thoughtful, intelligent improwsations, carefully textured soundscapes, and intricately wrought compositions. All of these qualities are in evidence in this gem for Brass Ensemble and Soloists (featuring an excellent line-up of UK musicians), a worthy follow-up to last year’s masterly quartet session, Angel Song. (KM)
Access Denied (Blue Room) we :6: we An album full of brilliant break beats, drum & filtered bass, acid trance and lots of jazz house, all rolled into the one inspiring sound of Total Eclipse.
The three lads from France — Stefane Holweck, Serge Souque and Loic Vanpoucke — have combined their eclectic tastes and love of electronic music to create a varied and interesting album, without sacrificing the thread of their own signature sound. From the crazy high-pitched trumpet and tribal beats on 'None Of Your Business' to the mad hovering acid noises which run alongside rolling bass lines and a looped trumpet sample in 'A Piece Of Cherry Cake’, this is an album deserving to be at the forefront of French dance music. (SB)
Catalogue 1999 (Catalogue) r? ream The French imprint Catalogue is a small independent label making big waves. Featuring thirteen Gallic producers, Catalogue 7999 is an essential showcase of the Parisian electronic underground. Included in the album is a great dub surfer pop tune from Telepopmusik, some solid hip hop action from The Voodoo Child (aka DJ Cam) and contemporary jazz sounds from Sporto Kantes. 'Petit Concert . . .' by Money Penny Project could easily be a warped 505 TV soundtrack, while Avia's ’Aviacao' is a magnificent downbeat and minimal industrial techno tune. Another example of just how much talent lies across the Channel. (SB)
Dave Pearce Presents (Manifesto) Following on from his preVious platinum selling successes, Radio 1 DJ Dave Pearce selects another 40 of the most requested tracks from his Sunday night show. This compilation showcases recent Top 40 producers like Armand Van Helden and System F, club anthems from Binary Finary and Greece 2000 and old skool classics including Rhythm Is Rhythm's 'Strings Of Life’ and Sandy B’s ’Make The World Go Round’. A definitive buy for the regular listeners of the Dance Anthems show and for those who failed to get their hands on some of the ClaSSIC tracks first time round. One of the better compilations out this summer. (KW)
The Red House Painters: intensely dark subject matter
38 THE llST 8—22 Jul 1999
HIP HOP Gang Starr
Full Clip: A Decade 0f Gang Starr (N00 Trybe) a: a
The grate and the good: Gang Starr
Landed in hip hop circles. but rarely given their due in the UK, Gang Starr celebrate a decade together with the release of this 31-track greatest hits
and rarities package.
Coming out of New York with as radical an agenda as Public Enemy or ' KRS-1 at their respective peaks, dynamic duo Guru and Premier combine the tightest, most politically conscious of rhymes with some of the finest hip hop beats ever produced. This collection draws together substantial chunks of each of their five albums, with the added bonus of seven rarities and'two
Premier's unique signature sound of piano and horn riffs battling over funky breaks - the development and progression of which is keenly illustrated here - has depth and distinction, and makes WusTang’s RZA and other peers seem feeble in comparison. The craft of DJ Premier is expertly illustrated on tracks like 'Just To Get A Rep', ‘lazz Thing' and 'Work‘.
While dedicated followers will be unlikely to discover many surprises here, newcomers will find this a substantial and satisfying introduction to one of hip hop's true pioneers. (Mark Robertson)
ROCK Red House Painters Retrospective (4A0) a: e- 2s:
The Red House Painters retrospective isn’t easy listening. But then songs dealing with Freudian preoccupations and tortuous relationships which always implode because people can't commit to obsessive love never are. However, in Mark Kozelek’s mournful, awestruck lyrlClSlTi, the swooning, ethereal guitars and plaintive, time-lapse drumming there's enough beauty to make the intensely dark subject matter almost uplifting; the Brian Wilson harmonies and langurous dynamics of 'Katy Song’ being a melancholic highpomt. Listening to their prewous four albums in qwck succes5ion might have you reaching for the nearest bottle of pills, but this retrospective is too brief (and too beautiful) for that (Livll
Musicality (Jeepster) 2a: a.» a
The seventeen songs on this, Salako’s second album, were chosen from forty-seven they recorded in only four months. The resulting sonic scrapbook of Io-fi, high-"ideal thrills flits between Syd Barratt whimsy, Big Star melody and Beta Band freestyling — and surprismgly, it works. Maybe it's the Rupert the Bear flute on ’Come! Follow Mel'. Or the straight-faced ludicrousness of ’Do It Yourself'. Or the bemused Hull Methodist Chou who bolster the chorus of ‘Look Left' Somehow, Salako's musical free-assooations zoetrope together into a charming, ramshackle soundscape, held together by an inVisible thread of pop gossamer. In short, Musical/(y is Spirograph for the soul. (6V)