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  Listen Up! 4/14/03 Listen Up!

Monday, Apr. 14

Kenny Garrett, “Standard of Language,” Warner Brothers Records. No foolin’, Garrett is just blowing up a storm on this new album. I’m not as excited by his soprano playing, which is pleasing but not astounding, but when he blows the alto, he lets loose a torrent of ideas. Great band keeping up with him, too, though I’m not familiar with pianist Vernell Brown and drummer Chris Dave. Charnett Moffett is on board for the bass seat. This is jazz played at a high level, with no concern for commercial considerations.

The Cars, “Just What I Needed: Anthology,” Elektra Records. Hit after hit after hit (and a few album cuts that could have been hits), the first disc of this two-CD set is stunning. The second disc looks good, too, though a bit spottier in the later years. Those early sparse songs jumped out of radio in 1978. I remember thinking the New Wave had finally won when I heard “Just What I Needed” on KSHE 95. Their best songs were like a slicked up Velvet Underground with more hooks. Their weaker material echoed Suicide a little too closely, but even that was fun to see in a mainstream band at the time.

--Steve Pick

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