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  Listen Up! 1/24/02 Listen Up!

Thursday, Jan. 24

Lee Konitz with Warne Marsh, "Lee Konitz with Warne Marsh," Koch Jazz. A reissue of the 1956 album of the same name. Apparently, Atlantic Records doesn't think there's a big enough market for this cerebral yet swinging duo. Nice solid stuff, crazy post-bop idioms that open up a lot of space in the music despite lots of notes in the tunes. Fun record.

Hi-Fidel and DJ Crucial, "Traveling Between St. Louis and Chicago," F5 Records. The trouble with underground hip-hop is it's utter lack of playfulness. There's no pop in it, no spirit, nothing but a determination to stay underground. There's a lot of skill involved. The rapper (presumably Hi-Fidel) can spin some rhymes, and pop around rhythmically; the dj (Crucial) has a great record collection from which to derive unusual beats. But, there's nothing here that jumps out and grabs me, nothing to make me want to hear the record again, and nothing that's likely to remind me I even heard it before if I do hear it again.

Parliament, "Greatest Hits," Casablanca Records. Snapping funky beats, squiggly synthesizer lines, basses climbing steps all over the place, and crazy vocals with chants and riffs that can't be dislodged from the brain. This stuff will never sound old.

Bonnie Raitt, "Silver Lining," Capitol Records. This is a pleasant, if far from invigorating work from someone I've long enjoyed. Raitt sounds most excited to be singing the blues again, but she does a lot of ballads in search of that late 80s pop success. She can sing anything, of course, and her slide guitar is always welcome, but the material doesn't strike me at first listen as being particularly strong.

--Steve Pick



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