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NEW RELEASES : In Brief

August 22, 1993|LEONARD FEATHER

* * * * Doc Cheatham, "The 87 Years of Doc Cheatham," Columbia. Trumpeter Cheatham, 88, whose career goes back to 1923, when he backed Bessie Smith in a Nashville theatre, is playing as well as ever. He's lyrically unpretentious on Benny Carter's "Blues in My Heart," a muted waltz treatment of "Was It a Dream" and a warm reading of " 'Round Midnight." As for his vocals, Cheatham's charm lies halfway between true singing and recitative, whether he's addressing himself to Miss Brown or Miss Jones (it's a welcome change to hear "Miss Brown to You" sung by a male).

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good, recommended), four stars (excellent).

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