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SOUND CHECK.

Terence Blanchard/``Jazz in Film'' (Sony Classical)

The nine tunes here, starting with a smooth 1951 selection from Alex North's ``A Streetcar Named Desire,'' are cool-sounding yet conjure up bigger emotions than jazz fans usually hear these days. These are not mere hard-bop melodies. Many, especially Ellington's 1959 ``Anatomy,'' are sensuous and sultry, the kind of music that can imbue homely speakers with poetry. Trumpeter Blanchard shares some fine soloing dustups with alto saxophonist Donald Harrison and tenor man Joe Henderson. Trombonist Steve Turre, pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Reginald Veal and drummer Carl Allen round out an impressive lineup. Three and one half stars

- Karl Stark

Philadelphia Inquirer

Ben Lee/``Breathing Tornados'' (Grand Royal/Capitol)

Like other young artists who eschew the traditional teen market, Lee is a fearless experimenter: He strives for Beck-like stream-of-consciousness one minute, conventional love-song earnestness the next, and as the track ``Burn to Shine'' demonstrates, he thinks nothing of letting a simple acoustic-guitar pattern swell into a big, lumbering anthem. Not all of the forays are completely successful, but there are more than enough fully realized gems here to compensate, and because Lee is so committed to growing and developing, even his stumbles show plenty of charm. Three and one half stars

- Tom Moon

Philadelphia Inquirer

Jim Hall & Pat Metheny/``Jim Hall & Pat Metheny'' (Telarc)

This is an overdue pairing of two of jazz's most gifted, distinctive and admired guitarists. And it turns out that Hall's and Metheny's sounds and styles blend so seamlessly that often they are as one. You do know who is who some of the time, though, because Metheny plays multiple instruments (electric, acoustic, fretless classical and 42-string) while Hall limits himself to electric. In perhaps the most adventurous and interesting aspect, they collaborate on five (mostly brief) improvisations that serve as segues between numbers. There also are a couple standards - a fascinating, swinging ``All the Things You Are'' and a soul-stirring ``Summertime.'' Four stars

- Bob Protzman

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Cornelius/``Fantasma Remixes'' and ``Cornelius Remixes'' (Matador)

Keigo Oyamada, the playful Japanese avant-pop mastermind who named himself Cornelius after the Roddy McDowall character in ``Planet of the Apes,'' doesn't pay any mind to musical restrictions. These two seven-song EPs take the Bach-Brian Wilson-Black Sabbath aesthetic and fool with it. ``Fantasma Remixes'' (Two and one half stars) features Cornelius admirers such as Blur's Damon Albarn and the High Llamas tweaking such cuts as ``Star Fruits Surf Rider'' and ``The Micro Disneycat World Tour.'' Kinda cool, but not essential, especially if you already own the original ``Fantasma'' disc. ``Cornelius Remixes'' (Three stars) offers a more intriguing postmodern cocktail, as Oyamada turns his trickery to others' material, turning Money Mark's ``Maybe I'm Dead'' into a lounge-pop nightmare and adding a seductive electronic undercurrent to the Pastels' ``Windy Hill.''

- Dan DeLuca

Philadelphia Inquirer

Paul McCartney & Wings/``Band on the Run - 25th Anniversary Edition'' (Capitol)

A watershed album for McCartney and Wings, ``Band on the Run'' was also one of the most troubled projects that the former Beatle ever undertook. Despite adversity, the album was released to great commercial and critical acclaim. From the orchestral grandeur of the title track to the supercharged energy of ``Jet'' to the delicate acoustic strains of ``Bluebird'' and ``Mamunia,'' ``Band on the Run'' represents McCartney's songwriting and recording craft at its finest. Along with a newly remastered version of the album, the ``25th Anniversary Edition'' features a bonus disc of outtakes from the album sessions, alternate versions and recollections from the likes of actor Dustin Hoffman, who inspired McCartney to write ``Picasso's Last Words,'' and engineer Geoff Emerick. Four stars

- Billboard

Sparklehorse/``Good Morning Spider'' (Capitol)

Mark Linkous, Sparklehorse's lo-fi auteur, knows about loneliness and detachment. Two years ago, while in England promoting his band's excellent debut, ``Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot,'' Linkous ingested an ill-advised cocktail of liquor, Valium and his prescription anti-depressants, and slipped into a 14-hour coma with his legs pinned beneath him. The build-up of toxins in his legs confined him to a London hospital bed for 16 weeks, after which he spent a year in a wheelchair and leg braces. Against this backdrop of folly and tragedy, the songs on ``Good Morning Spider'' play out in stark relief. Linkous uses his trauma to massage the sad heart of his horse-whispered melodies back to life. Doling out verbal snapshots of a near-death experience, he intones, ``Blanket me sweet nurse and keep me from burning'' over the fever-dream folk strum of ``St. Mary,'' the namesake of the hospital where he convalesced. Like the debut, ``Good Morning Spider'' is suffused with clinical sadness, antiqued production and a spooky aura of ghostly Americana - imagine the melodious wheezing of Neil Young on a ventilator. Only a talent such as Linkous could make the feel-bad record of the year sound this good. Three and one half stars

- Jonathan Valania

Philadelphia Inquirer

Hi-Fi Killers/``Jamaica'' (Loosegroove)

Recording partly on the island of Jamaica and employing the likes of Scorpion, Clinton Fearon and Solgie, Seattle's Hi-Fi Killers duo (Johnny Horn and Kevin Oakland) stumble somewhat upon a wicked sound that is equal parts traditional riddim and Massive Attack-ish techno. It has some standout moments, especially Blackout's growling cuts (the opener ``Like a Lion'' and the lesser ``I & I Time''), and much of the mixing is admirable. But it ultimately plays better as background music than as serious listening. One too many dubs can leave you craving a real song after a while. Two stars

- Ben Wener

Orange County Register

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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Mar 26, 1999
Words:921
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