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She's Got the Moves and Grooves

May 30, 1999|ELYSA GARDNER

JENNIFER LOPEZ

"On the 6"

The Work Group

** 1/2

Making the transition from hot actor to singing star is a risky proposition--anyone remember Philip Michael Thomas' musical moment? But Lopez is going about it in a most agreeable way: with a light heart and even lighter feet. Before she was a movie star, Lopez shook her now-famous booty as a dancer on TV's "In Living Color," and her first album (due in stores Tuesday) reveals that she has maintained a hoofer's finely tuned sense of rhythm and grace.

The Bronx-bred daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, Lopez deftly blends urban and Latin textures and grooves with shiny pop savvy. Aided by skilled writers and producers--among them Rodney Jerkins, Cory Rooney and Emilio Estefan Jr.--she unleashes exotic hip-hop workouts (including the hit single "If You Had My Love"), salsa-kissed R&B confections such as "It's Not That Serious" and bittersweet, flamenco-flavored numbers ("Could This Be Love").

While Lopez's light, tangy voice isn't exactly a technical wonder, her singing is as seductively emotive as her work on screen. She brings an engaging vulnerability to ballads such as "Talk About Us" and "Promise Me You'll Try," then turns fabulously feisty on the boisterous "Let's Get Loud" and the disco-informed "Una Nocha Mas." Clearly, this former Fly Girl still has all the right moves.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

Hear the Music

* Excerpts from Jennifer Lopez's album and other recent releases are available on The Times' World Wide Web site. Point your browser to:

http://www.calendarlive.com/soundclips

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