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  Listen Up! 1/7/03 Listen Up!

Tuesday, Jan. 7

Chick Corea, “The Complete “Is” Sessions,” Blue Note Records. It’s 1969, and jazz is turning a corner. Miles Davis has opened the door to jazz/rock fusion, and Chick Corea has helped. So, Corea leads his own band, featuring Miles associates Dave Holland on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums, along with Woody Shaw on trumpet, Hubert Laws on flute and piccolo, Bennie Maupin on tenor sax, and Horace Arnold on drums and percussion. There are no rules. There is groove, ebb and flow, call and response, interaction among musicians discovering new possibilities. There is beauty and repose, anger and calls to action. There is excitement, there is peace. There is.

Kirsty MacColl, “Tropical Brainstorm,” V2 Records. This was MacColl’s last album, recorded a few months before her untimely accidental death. She was fully immersed in Latin rhythms by this point, and some of these songs are masterpieces of Britpop/Latin fusion. “In These Shoes?” may be among her finest songs ever (which is saying a lot, considering “They Don’t Know” and half the songs on “Kite”). Some of these songs still haven’t kicked in for me after a year and a half of listening, but none of them are painful.

Dungeon Family, “Even In Darkness,” Arista Records. This is a really good record. No time to say why.

Rolling Stones, “Let It Bleed,” Abkco Records. Good heavens, this stuff sounds great in the newly remastered editions. You probably already know that this is one of the greatest rock records ever made, full of songs so ingrained in memory that it’s hard to imagine hearing it as if it were new. But, the depth of the sound makes it seem that way. The acoustic guitars, the pumping piano, the delicious slide guitars, the solid-rock rhythm section, and Jagger’s vocals, sounding simultaneously snobbish and plaintive, it’s all there for your edification once again.

The Maytones, “Their Greatest Hits,” Heartbeat Records. How could something like this not have been available domestically before? The Maytones were two beautiful falsetto harmony vocalists from the late 60s/early 70s glory era of reggae. There’s a delicious 7:47 mix of their classic “Money Worries,” featuring the great toaster I-Roy, that is the centerpiece of this album. But, all of it is glorious, deep, penetrating grooves with vocals that simply spring out of the mix. This record feels good.

--Steve Pick



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