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  Listen Up! 8/19/02 Listen Up!

Monday, Aug. 19

Steve Forbert, “More Young, Guitar Days,” Rolling Tide Records. This is apparently the second volume of odds ‘n’ sods from the period of Forbert’s four-record stint with Epic Records (or one of those CBS labels). It’s great stuff, of course, and testament to the high level of Forbert’s talent that he could hold these cuts back for 22 or more years and nobody missed them. There are three live cuts from 1979 where he’s backed by Lou Whitney, Donnie Thompson, and Bobby Lloyd Hicks of the Skeletons. Though he would soon thereafter have a falling out with Whitney and Thompson, they made a very sympathetic backing band for him, and I’d love to have even more recordings from this period.

Clifford Brown and Max Roach, “At Basin Street,” Emarcy Records. Despite the title and the look of the cover, this isn’t a live album, but it is a damn fine example of how good the Brown/Roach tandem was back in 1956. This time around, they also have a young Sonny Rollins along for the ride, and he adds a nice punchy contrast to Brown’s delicious trumpet. Clever arrangements provided by pianist Richie Powell make for good use of the musicians involved.

Slum Village, “Dirty District,” Sequence Records. I don’t know. I understand the concept of underground hip-hop like this, I hear the interesting relationships between unusual samples and more abstract beats, and the flow of the rappers being so smooth and slippery. So, there’s talent at work, I get that. These guys are doing something different, and any random fifteen seconds of it can actually sound interesting. But, the whole package just sucks the joy right out of the music. They have no interest in pop, they prefer to think of themselves as above the fray, and the net result is lifeless.

Coldplay, “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” Parlophone Records. I heard a couple of other things that barely registered this afternoon. Not that this one has made any kind of inroads to my mind. These guys do a mid-tempo, crying, cringing mope-rock that probably convinces some people that they are incredibly sensitive guys with hurts and deep desires, but mostly convinces me that they don’t have any sincere bones in their bodies. Ignore this. I will.

--Steve Pick



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