WITHOUT REZERVATIONAre You Ready For W.O.R.?
A VOCAL SAMPLE kicks things off: "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." Gangsta rap's spiraled into parody; Native-American hiphop such as Robby Bee & The Boyz From The Rez and this Oakland trio offer far more compelling food for thought. Boogie Down Productions and early Public Enemy are obvious blueprints for these lean, bass-heavy tracks. One distinctive signature here is the mixing in of traditional Indian singing samples.
The spooky "502 Years" is one standout track with a positive message. A slow, trudging arrangement charts the legacy of the Americas, concluding, "So here's some food for thought, we can't be bought/ I give props to my people, they survived 502 years of evil."
DAVE BRUBECKJust You, Just Me
DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE SOUNDING sometimes, sheerly because he is so clear about what he is playing, Brubeck's pianistic and compositional subtleties and sophistications can't be missed. Not that he is unappreciated over his half-century's remarkably rich contributions to jazz--last October he received a National Medal of Arts award to add to his collection. This, his first solo piano album in 40 years, has five originals and seven standards, among which "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" is particularly timely, poignant and evocative. Like many of the one-take solos here, it displays Brubeck's utter competency and range of emotional sensibilities. Satisfying.
VARIOUS ARTISTSPunk O Rama
EPITAPH MIGHT BE right to call the entire year of 1994 "a punk rock summer." With their previously own Bad Religion leading the way into the mainstream, the idea of "punk" has never been more commercial. (Am I the only one who finds the paradox within that notion?) This compilation showcases Epitaph's best--so it might just be (today's) punk rock best. Previously unreleased tracks from The Offspring and Rancid should move some units, but stellar stabs by NOFX, Pennywise and Down By Law certainly won't hurt either. File under "retro-revivalism"--hardcore is more than 15 years old, you know.
BRECKER BROTHERSOut of the Loop
THE BRECKER BROTHERS, trumpeter Randy and sax player Michael, have long been sought after for studio work, being highly competent in a range of styles from fusion to funk, contemporary to hard bop. This, their second brotherly effort of late, mixes a heavy groove fusion/funk cut, a rhythmically flowing Brazilian arrangement, with other elegant hybrid-hard-to-pigeonhole originals. Sometimes it may seem to border on "fuzak," but there's real music in those melodies, soul in those bent tones, and a jazz heart in the center.
| © 1995-97 Tucson Weekly . Info Booth