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  Listen Up! 9/18/02 Listen Up!

Wednesday, Sept. 18

Serge Chaloff, “Blue Serge,” Capitol Records. First off, you gotta love the cover. There’s this 50s babe in a tight dress and long, long gloves posing with a baritone sax and a blue shirt in the process of being tailored. And on the back cover, there are these little bitsy cut-out photos of the musicians on the record. Oh, speaking of the musicians. Chaloff was a baritone saxophonist who played it like it was an alto. Very much under the Bird influence, though he was way more of a ballad player than a fast and furious guy. There’s Sonny Clark on piano, in a very controlled vein, Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. Yep, it’s good. Capitol didn’t have the incredible sound of the Blue Note or Riverside recordings from that period since they didn’t employ Rudy Van Gelder (that’s his name, right?). So, things sound a little less exhilarating than they should. But, this is a good record.

Hoodoo Gurus, “Electric Soup: The Singles Collection,” Mushroom Records. This compiles nineteen cuts from the Australian garage-pop band that never quite got the respect it deserved back in the 80s. Listening to this CD, I realize once again that their debut album, “Stoneage Romeos” was the best and purest representation of their sound. After that, they switched rhythm sections, and tried to somehow make a straight-ahead 60s-derived rock’n’roll style fit into 80s production techniques. They never gave up on their basic approach, but they never sounded as effortless again. Still, there’s not a painful song on this album, and a whole lot of joy to be had.

Conjure One, “Conjure One,” Nettwerk America. Bland exoticisms, mid-tempo dance grooves with middle eastern vocals set on top. You don’t want to hear this, really.

--Steve Pick



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