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Cirque Du Soleil
(Cirque Du Soleil)
[listen] [buy] [download]

Patricia Barber
(Blue Note)
[listen] [buy]

Cirque Du Soleil
(Cirque Du Soleil)
[listen] [buy] [download]

Jim Pearce
“Why I Haven't Got You”
Prairie Dog Ballet
(Oak Avenue Publishing)
[listen] [buy]

Andy Timmons Band
“Gone (9/11/01)”
(Favored Nations)
[listen] [buy]

Ralph Towner
Time Line
(ECM Records)
[listen] [buy]

Anoushka Shankar

Amos Lee
"Arms Of A Woman"
Amos Lee
(Blue Note)

Julius Curcio
"American Pie"
Alligator Shoes
(Electric Roots)
[listen] [buy]

"Come Alive"
Changing Into Me
[listen] [buy]

Kaleidoscope [Issue # 13 ]

By Lynne Bronstein

( )

Don’t be upset by the title (Cut) or the band’s name (The Slits). These mud-covered grrls were a ‘70s punk band in England, and this, a reissue of their major opus, (Koch) is a happy, silly, romp through musical mud, kind of like punk for kindergarten.

Speaking of kindergarten, remember Schoolhouse Rock? If you can still sing “Three Is The Magic Number,” sing along with its composer Bob Dorough on Sunday At Iridium (Arbors Jazz). Dorough, a jazz man from way back, performs at this New York club every Sunday with his combo, and this recording of one of his sets shows off his eclecticism and personal warmth.

Mark Dignam, a “contemporary Irish folk singer,” mates acoustic guitar folk with modern lyric subjects on Box Heart Man (Times Beach Records). With a touch of humor and an occasional punkish edge, he sings of a world where one always waits for the next check to come in and where the household chores must be divvied up.

John Gold’s subtly sardonic lyrics and deadpan post-punk singing make The Eastside Shake (www.johngoldmusic.com) an excursion into the latest angry young man angst, acoustic style.

Shawn Colvin’s Polaroids (Columbia) brings together the best tracks from her past albums, including provocative covers of songs by The Police and Talking Heads, the early “Steady On,” and the Grammy-winning “Sunny Came Home.” Colvin’s clear, sensual voice glides gracefully over sad, sweet songs that linger in the mind.

From Milwaukee comes Decibully with their third album, Sing Out America (Polyvinyl). The title sounds folksy, but the music rocks, with tuneful songs about current-day angst. Highlight: the a capella “Temptation,” which evokes the Beach Boys at that stage just before Smile.

“I’ve got something new for you,” sings John Legend on his debut Get Lifted (Sony) and does he ever! With extra-smooth vocals and impressive songwriting, Legend takes the sound of classic R&B and updates it, helped out by the likes of Snoop Dogg and Kanye West. It’s a tall order, but Legend, like Stevie Wonder, may yet live up to his chosen surname.

Roscoe Gordon, who passed away in 2002, was a blues artist whose songs traveled further than he did. Many of these can be found on No Dark In America (Dualtone), including the uplifting title song, an answer to 9/11, and other songs that showcase Gordon’s piano chops and humor. Recorded a few months before Gordon’s death, this is a legacy to a musician who never gave up.

Dark, dank, spooky are the words that come to mind for The Low Lows by Parker and Lily (Warm). The mysterious voice of Parker Noon sings bleak thoughts to a quietly ominous electronic beat.

It’s party time with the Soul Rebels on Rebelution (Barn Burner Music). This New Orleans combo’s mix of jazz, reggae, and hip-hop is eminently danceable with some changes of pace (the soulful “Spend Some Time”) and a lot of great instrumentation reminiscent of a parade down Bourbon Street.

Chandni (Around The Corner), an Indian word meaning “night light,” is the latest album by prolific Danish ambient composer Hjortur. It’s mostly instrumental tracks with vocal touches that soothe and lull the listener. Hjortur’s musical setting of the pop homily, “The Paradoxical Commandments,” could be the new century’s “Desiderata.”

I Was There (IPO) is pianist Roger Kellaway’s tribute to Bobby Darin, for whom he served as an accompanist. Kellaway plays songs originally performed by Darin and demonstrates how good solo piano and traditional pop can sound.

Hollies Reunion (Fuel 200) is a concert recording from the 1983 reunion tour of one of the best-loved 1960s British bands. With the original lineup, including Graham Nash, on hand, the Hollies’ deft lyrics, sprightly melodies, and strong harmonies sound great for any decade.

The Avila Brothers change pace often on The Mood (Universal), switching from irreverent scratch street mixes to R&B to rap dance tracks. You’ll hear everything from flutes to what may be the singing voice of Donald Duck!

Watch for Playing For Change, an upcoming documentary about street musicians, scheduled for cable this spring. This soundtrack album (Higher Octave) features street performers such as the Goat Dirt Road Band, Los Pingues, and Delta Dream Box, strumming guitars and banjos, playing a true roots folk music hearkening back to the days of Woody Guthrie.

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