Dr. Bombay was founded in 1992, and its debut album, Temperate Zone, came out last January on Intersound Records. A follow-up is under way. "We're trying to get into more of a funk thing with the newer tunes, more of an urban sound," says drummer Steve Hargrave.

Outside the Valley, Dr. Bombay has taken its up-tempo blend before festival audiences from La Jolla, California, to Cocoa Beach, Florida, headlining and opening for acts like Blood, Sweat & Tears and Spyro Gyra.

"When you're from out of state, people treat you differently. You get limos and fancy food and everyone does everything for you," says Hargrave. "Then I fly home and on Monday morning I'm out in the backyard scooping dog crap. Here, we're just the local boys."--Marsha Mardock

Nuance Jazz Trio
This atypical jazz trio draws from a whirlpool of styles, including standard and contemporary jazz, bebop, world beat and even European gypsy folk. Oh, yes, the group also sings--in Spanish and in English.

Each member of Nuance has compiled an impressive resume: Devon Bridgewater, who plays trumpet and electric violin, studied jazz at Harvard under Dizzy Gillespie and Yo-Yo Ma; electric and acoustic bassist Dennis Sexton has worked with Mose Allison and Herb Ellis; and Stan Sorenson (electric and acoustic guitars) has backed up Ella Fitzgerald and Jeffrey Osborne, among others.

Nuance's first CD, angular, was recently issued on Standen Records. Dominated with originals that play connect-the-dots with the group's scattered array of styles, the album also contains innovative takes on Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis numbers. Live, listen for the '30s-style jazz original "Sneaky Swing," a prime example of how this band brings classic jazz sounds into a modern context and makes it work.--Leigh Silverman

Best Latin
Barrio Latino
Whether it's pumping out four-alarm salsa or deep-groove funk, Barrio Latino has a flair for turning flat-footed yuppies into dance-floor Gumbys. This combo's varied musical turf ranges from Latin contemporary to R&B, jazz and regional Mexican. The band has a deep playlist of 250 tunes, and a typical Barrio set might see this well-schooled, high-energy quartet segue a spicy, Caribbean salsa beat into a bilingual Stevie Wonder medley, then thunder into a rendition of Kool and the Gang's "Get Down on It."--Leigh Silverman

Carmella y Mas!
Fronted by Latin diva Carmella Ramirez, Mas!'s smooth Caribbean pulse sways like a coconut palm on a white-sand beach. Performing a rum punch of Spanish and English tunes, ranging from "Oya Como Va" to "My Funny Valentine," Mas! dips gracefully in and out of Latin and jazz stylings.

Ramirez was born in the South Phoenix barrio and grew up on the west side. While other kids her age were hanging out at 7-Eleven, Ramirez says she was pouring through her parents' record collection, soaking up as much big-band and Latin jazz as she could. "Tito Puente and Celia Cruz were my guides," she says.--Leigh Silverman

Joseph and Hispano
Check out a Joseph and Hispano show, and you'll learn what Joseph Monyer's fans have known since 1987--this guy is a Tex-Mex party animal. Monyer caters to third- and fourth-generation Mexican Americans who grew up listening to traditional Mexican music alongside '70s and early '80s R&B. He sings in both English and Spanish, and his debut album, En Mi Corazon, has sold more than 3,000 units in Arizona and New Mexico. The recording clearly displays the lively playing of Monyer's seven-piece band, jamming behind the singer's cool, confident tenor.--Leigh Silverman

Best Metal/Industrial
One part pristine goth-metal, three parts atonal modern rock, the dark aggression of Crushed is fueled by musical tension that never resolves, always keeping the listener on edge. Built in 1993 from splinters of the Phoenix metal bands Undertow, Heavy Easy, Flesh Serpents and Dead Idol Sect, Crushed couples the heaviness of White Zombie and Prong with the haunting melodic stylings of Dead Can Dance.

"We carry a big stick," says guitarist Mike Hallard, "but we don't just beat you over the head with it. We carve it and decorate it first." Crushed's lyrics are of the flesh--love and death are dominant themes--but its songs resound with a lofty mysticism that most metal bands in the Valley can't hold a black candle to.--Leigh Silverman

N17 shows are like modern warfare--precise, brutal and loud. Be prepared for a full-scale digital onslaught, replete with distorted explosions, battering guitars, strobes, smoke and the machine-gun rattle of singer Trevor Askew's chilling cries.

Produced by Neil Kernon (Queensryche, Peter Gabriel) and seething with visions of the Apocalypse, this three-year-old industrial band's sinister new album, Trust No One, would make a suitable score for a WWIII documentary. As it is, two tracks off the disc, "Virus" and "Creation," are included on the soundtrack to Writer's Block, a slasher flick released last fall. By the way: The band took its name from the Greek terrorist organization November 17. So don't forget your flak jacket--or your earplugs.--Leigh Silverman

Soul Grind
Attitude. Soul Grind's got it, and this high-octane, funky metal-core act wants you to groove in ways your mama never let you. Conceived in Mesa in the fall of '91, Soul Grind has issued three primal outpourings on plastic--One Band's Perception was released in '94, followed the next year by Love at Zero and, most recently, the hard and heavy, groove-oriented A Whole Can of Whoop Ass. Since its inception, Soul Grind has held down opening slots for Tool and Rage Against the Machine.

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