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ALBUM REVIEWS / JAZZ

* 1/2, RODNEY KENDRICKS, "Last Chance for Common Sense", Verve

August 16, 1996|BILL KOHLHAASE

Pianist Kendricks' latest album is a vast coming together of cultural and musical styles, spanning the globe with African, Indian and Middle Eastern percussion as well as doses of sassy, New Orleans roots music. Seven brief percussion interludes of less than a minute sew the longer pieces together, giving the album a singular character despite its wide-ranging sensibilities.

While percussion is the disc's mainstay, various front lines of cornet, trombone, alto, tenor and baritone sax or English horn, euphonium and trombone provide plenty of brassy color for these mostly upbeat romps. Dewey Redman adds musette on one piece, giving it a particularly exotic feel.

Kendricks' own play ranges from slap-happy, Thelonious Monk-styled dances (the title tune, Barry Harris' "We Live On") to smooth-swinging, yet equally kinky expositions ("Remember"). While the odd, dense passage may be overly cluttered, "Last Chance" pulls music from the far corners of the world and brings it all down home.

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

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