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  Listen Up! 4/15/03 Listen Up!

Tuesday, Apr. 15

Wayne Shorter, ďAlegria,Ē Verve Records. Quite possibly the first Wayne Shorter record released in more than 30 years thatís made me want to hear it twice. There are some beautiful melodies on this album, some fascinating arrangements featuring a jazz combo and a big band adding color. Shorterís playing will never be as muscular as it was in his 60s prime, but he does sound more grounded in the music than Iíve heard him in a long time. Surprising, and intriguing.

Culture, ďLive in Africa,Ē Ras Records. Sometimes live records arenít such a great idea. Iím sure if I was in a club catching the great Joseph Hill singing with a solid reggae band behind him, Iíd be enthralled with a performance like this. Iíd also know that Iíve seen him be better, but I bet Iíd still be carried over by his sheer stage presence. But, listening to this CD, Iím not thrilled at all by the overly bright sonics of this recording Ė reggae is supposed to be bass heavy, not treble happy. Hillís vocals are fine, but Iíd rather go back to old Culture studio records, which are among the most powerful reggae records ever made.

--Steve Pick

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