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  Listen Up! 1/23/03 Listen Up!

Thursday, Jan. 23

Lee Morgan, “The Best of Lee Morgan: The Blue Note Years,” Blue Note Records. Like I said yesterday about Sonny Rollins, of course you need more than just this compilation to dig Lee Morgan. On the other hand, he made most of his best records for Blue Note, so this really does hit a lot of high points. Morgan always played with the a-team players, and this album is a veritable who’s who of early 60s straight-ahead jazz.

Steve Coleman and Five Elements, “Rhythm People,” Novus Records. There are way better Steve Coleman records, but this is serviceable funk with explosive alto saxophone wailing.

J-Live, “All of the Above,” Triple Threat Records. This guy is really talented, though 21 cuts of his talent at one sitting are a bit much to take. The problem is, though I can identify three or four really amazing songs, all the rest are just solidly good, and I couldn’t decide what would have made the album stronger by disappearing. Oh, well, he has a nicely declarative rap style, and he works with really intriguing beats drawn from all sorts of places not normally visited by the hip-hop community. Good record.

--Steve Pick

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