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  Listen Up! 10/3/02 Listen Up!

Thursday, Oct. 3

Jackie McLean, “Nature Boy,” Blue Note Records. McLean’s tone on alto sax is so pure, so lean, so probing, it sinks right into your gut. Everything he plays sounds like truth. This album came out a couple years ago. It was one of the last records on which the great Billy Higgins played drums before he died. Higgins was always a joy to hear (and to see). The music on this record is as full of life’s pleasures as Higgins seemed to experience whenever he played.

Laura Cantrell, “When the Roses Bloom Again,” Diesel Only Records. It’s difficult to get a real feel for a record when the volume isn’t very high, and the air conditioner is running loud, and Lew’s over in the other half of the room listening to the baseball game. Not that I’m opposed to baseball games or air conditioning, just aware of their competition for my ears. This much I know. Cantrell has a lovely voice, and some really good songs. She’s half way in between country and the pop styles of Hoboken, NJ folk like her drummer Dave Schramm. She does a gorgeous version of Amy Rigby’s beautiful “Don’t Break the Heart.”

--Steve Pick



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