Jackson, Live in New York: Summer in the City (Sony Classical
2000) - Here's a set that deserves to be heard. Playing with a first-rate trio, Joe Jackson draws from his deep
songbook on this electrifying jazz/rock collection.
Now age 46, Joe Jackson rode up the charts with such albums as Look Sharp (1979) and I'm
the Man (1980). Joe started off as an Angry Young Man, but has matured in ways that seem to have escaped
his contemporary, Elvis Costello.
Jackson's 1989 release, Blaze of Glory, is an unappreciated gem, a song cycle about a young rock
'n roll star in London.
in the City finds Jackson on piano and vocals, joined by long-time
friends Graham Maby on bass and vocals and Gary
Burke on drums. The album was recorded during a series of small club shows in New York City.
Summer in the City retraces Jackson's career on tracks like
"Fools in Love" (paired with the Yardbirds' standards,
"For Your Love"), "It's Different for Girls," and "Be My Number 2" (the latter two
also appeared in much different arrangements on Jackson's previous, Live 1980/86).
in the City is the hottest jazz album of the year, mixing smart songs against impeccable playing. While
the album contains a remarkable reworking of "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles,
the highlight is Jackson's blending of his own
"Down to London" against the Ramsey Lewis Trio's 1965
classic, "The In Crowd."
Summer in the City is a must-hear collection - hot, cold, and everything in between. Don't miss
Fabian, Lara Fabian (Columbia 2000) - A big star in the
French pop field, Lara Fabian seeks a wider audience on her first English-based recording. With five different
producers, Lara Fabian has a homogenized sound, poised for the masses.
Lara was born in Belgium and raised both
there and in Italy. She grew up speaking Italian and is also fluent in French and English. Explains Lara, "I'm
more of a Latin kind of person - the flow of the language is much closer to my personality."
out of high school, Lara moved to Montreal to escape what she
felt was an unduly conservative recording milieu on the continent. Says Lara
, "In Europe, I kept meeting people who wanted to tell me what I should do. I wouldn't compromise, so I left
and went somewhere I felt I could be myself." Landing in Montreal, Lara worked alongside producer/songwriter
Rick Allison, a friend from Brussels who remains a collaborator to this day.
by her love of the theatrical elements in music from such predecessors as Barbra
Streisand and Queen. Says Lara, "I adore Freddie Mercury . He
had that enigmatic classical-meets-rock thing, and I learned how to combine the two from watching and listening
Lara Fabian has a polished feel, as befits an artist with Lara's recording
background. "Til I Die" is a catchy slice of pop, and the opening "Adagio" melds a classic
18th century Italian melody (written by Tomaso Giovanni
Albinoni ) with contemporary lyrics penned by Lara and Rick Allison.
With sales of six million units in the French territories in two years, Lara
hopes for the breakout success achieved by Celine Dion . Lara
Fabian is a clean bill, and leaves no aftertaste.
Oh What a Beautiful Morning (EWorks Records 2000) - Add Eels
to the list of bands who have gone straight to the net. A follow-up to last year's Daisies of the Galaxies,
E (aka Mark Oliver Everett ) has released a live show pastiche.
And that's a fair description, as the album was compiled from shows
recorded in seven different venues, including Los Angeles, Glasgow, Melbourne, Sidney, and Paris. Ultimately, the
album is disjointed: parts are rewarding, such as the opening overture including "Last Stop: This Town,"
"Beautiful Freak," and "Novocaine
for the Soul," with a swinging horn section.
Yet Butch's rant about "Hot and Cold" running water is juvenile, and should never have been included.
is a limited edition CD with 17 previously-unreleased tracks drawn from E's solo tour with Fiona Apple and from
the Eels 2000 world tour . The world tour band included a number of skilled
players, including David Hlebo, Steve Crum, Orest Balaban, Probyn Gregory, and fiddle player/multi instrumentalist
Everett is an acquired taste, mixing pop melodies with
a steady dose of melancholia. Songs like "Grace Kelly Blues" and "Susan's House" will appeal
to fans. But overall, Oh What a Beautiful Morning is not something you will come back to regularly.
- Randy Krbechek © 2001
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