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  Listen Up! 12/23/02 Listen Up!

Monday, Dec. 23

Anti-Balas, “Talkatif,” Afrosound Records. What if some young guys with an interest in jazz immersed themselves in the life and works of Fela Kuti? It would probably sound like this, Afrobeat with an emphasis more on solos than words. The groove is the important thing, and these guys have it down pretty good.

Missy Elliott, “Under Construction,” Elektra Records (among other labels in small print). This record is a delight, full of herky-jerky, tumbling rhythms and wickedly funny lyrics. Missy has one of my favorite singles this year, “Work It,” with the backwards hook, and the elephant euphemism. She’s just as sharp when she doesn’t cover up the words she knows we all know.

Jorge Ben, “Brazilian Hits & Funky Classics,” Manteca World Music. A fine compilation of Jorge Ben Brazilian funk. I’ve heard him be sharper, but not really a whole lot sharper. I don’t know what happened to him, but his 70s work strikes me as pretty consistent.

--Steve Pick



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