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Here and now, then and there

FALL ARTS PREVIEW / POP

September 10, 2006

Highlights of upcoming CD releases in jazz and world music, selected by Don Heckman.

JAZZ

Tuesday

Omer Avital

"The Ancient Art of Giving" (Smalls)

The adventurous, Israel-born bassist Avital, a pioneer in combining jazz with myriad world music elements, sticks with classic jazz quintet style this time out, leading a band of young all-stars: saxophonist Mark Turner, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, pianist Aaron Goldberg and drummer Ali Jackson.

Ornette Coleman

"Sound Grammar"

Coleman's first release in a decade is a live set -- recorded in Italy in 2005 -- featuring his current quartet and the inimitable sound of his always probing alto saxophone.

**

Sept. 19

Weather Report

"Forecast: Tomorrow" (Columbia/Legacy)

A definitive collection of material from the definitive jazz-fusion-rock band of the '70s -- three CDs of material reaching across the band's various incarnations, selected by leaders Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter.

**

Sept. 26

John Coltrane

"Fearless Leader" (Prestige)

Coltrane's playing from his Prestige years (1957-58) is favored by many jazz fans for its beautiful sound and arching melodic interpretations. This six-CD boxed set is a must-have collection of his finest work from the period.

**

Oct. 3

Don Byron

"Do the Boomerang Thing:

The Music of Junior Walker" (Blue Note)

Eclectic clarinetist Byron switches to tenor saxophone for a tribute to the Motown singer-saxophonist Walker, featuring jazz-funk takes on such stylized items as "Shotgun" and "Pucker Up, Buttercup."

Ray Charles

"Ray Sings, Basie Swings" (Concord/Starbucks)

Although Charles never actually recorded with Basie, his vocals from 1970s concert tapes have been combined -- via studio magic -- with the current Count Basie orchestra in a set of performances that provide an intriguing hint of what might have been.

Stefon Harris

"African Tarantella: Dances With Duke"

(Blue Note)

Vibist Harris -- always in search of new challenges -- uses an unusually instrumented sextet (with clarinet, flute, trombone, piano and bass) in a musically compelling tribute to Duke Ellington.

**

WORLD MUSIC

Tuesday

Lu (Luisa Cottifogli)

"Rumi" (Forrest Hill)

Virtually unknown in this country, Cottifogli -- who only uses the name "Lu" on this latest album -- is a world music talent with extraordinary potential. Trained classically, she weaves Renaissance and Baroque elements, Middle Eastern sounds and African rhythms into seamless musical tapestries.

"Song of the Divine:

The Splendor of Sufi Devotion" (Higher Octave)

The mesmerizing music of \o7qawwali \f7singing has been heard everywhere from action feature films to meditation classes. This two-CD set is an introduction to the power of chant, performed by such masters as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Sabri Brothers and Aziz Mian.

**

Sept. 19

Gal Costa

"Gal Costa at the Blue Note" (DRG)

Costa's lush sound has been an intrinsic element in Brazilian music since the '70s. This live set, recorded this year at New York City's Blue Note, displays her vivacious in-performance qualities in a program ranging from bossa nova classics and sambas to American standards.

**

Sept. 26

Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars

"Living Like a Refugee (Dig)" (Anti)

Fascinating as a story of survival, the songs of the Refugee All-Stars can also stand on their own as compelling musical efforts. Initially performing with broken instruments and rusted amplifiers, the musicians gathered amid the chaos of a Guinean refugee camp to make music filled with the uplifting rhythms of blues, reggae and West African traditional sounds.

**

Oct. 3

Badi Assad

"Wonderland" (Edge/DRG)

Brazilian guitarist-singer Assad was also one of the first human beatbox sound makers. Always eclectic, she covers songs by Tori Amos and the Eurythmics and sings duets with Seu Jorge and Taylor McFerrin (Bobby McFerrin's son).

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