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Jazz Briefs

July 31, 1988|LEONARD FEATHER

"DUETS." Rob Wasserman. MCA 42131. This would appear to be an attempt to circumvent the problem often posed by the excessive length of CDs; on almost every cut, bassist Wasserman is paired with a different partner (usually a singer). It works beautifully when Cheryl Bentyne joins him for "Angel Eyes." Leonard Cohen's "Ballad of the Runaway Horse," with Jennifer Warnes, is quietly moving. "Brothers," with Bobby McFerrin, is overdubbed fun, and Wasserman's duet with himself is a fine showcase for his technique. The rest, alas, is darkness: an abysmal "Stardust" with Aaron Neville, two ridiculous cuts with Rickie Lee Jones, Lou Reed's distorted guitar, shuffle rhythm and questionable chords on "One for My Baby," Dan Hicks savaging the great old song "Gone With the Wind," and a disappointing "Over the Rainbow" featuring Stephane Grappelli that ends inexplicably with Wasserman and the violinist playing the melody in unison. Moral: Diversity is not enough. 2 stars.

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