By Nicki Escudero
By Amy Silverman
By Brian Palmer
By Chris Parker
By Troy Farah
By Lauren Wise
By Lauren Wise
The third and final movement is the most melodic. A pleasant piano tinkles along safely and smoothly, with high strings and a fluttering flute joining in to make for a nice resolution to all the threatening images in the earlier passages.
In other hands, the hopeful, meditative mood that ends the disc would be primped with new-age goo. But Silvestrov keeps his muse from mindlessness by making room for a touch of foreboding on the sidelines. The subtle sense of danger isn't as pointed as Gorecki's antiwar evocations, but Silvestrov's methods work just as well in signaling a call for reflection. It's a beautiful closing to a CD that should win over the many who purchased Gorecki's Third--especially the few who still listen to it.
Unfortunately, this is not the return to active duty by Petula Clark all you downtowners have been waiting for. When an album's credits read "Tori, you have given us your unconditional belief and support," you know it's gonna be a fun fest 10 times worse than sleeping in the subway, darling. This musical medic alert drill is so derivative it should've been issued with an umbilical cord. But whose? Although Tori Amos serves as executive producer, her Pet project bears unflattering resemblances to other adult alternachicks--bad Sarah McLachlan, Sinead O'Connor and PJ Harvey impersonations sidle up to you in the first three tracks alone. Nearly every track clunks to its conclusion in feedback chaos, and when "Otherwise" kicks in with (yawn) distorted lead vocals halfway through, it's as if someone remembered the formula for aggro-alternative and jammed the circuits just in the nick of time. Awlright! But doncha fret--I don't hear anything even remotely resembling a single, so chances are you won't hear any Pet on your radio. You lucky dog!
The Jazz Passengers Featuring Deborah Harry
There's no need to print up "Jazz Passengers Is a Group" buttons. This band's not the star-driven vehicle Blondie was designed to be. Besides, this is the Passengers' sixth recorded excursion. Harry only officially joined the group last year, but what might at first seem like exploitation is actually an inspired coupling. She maneuvers her way through a Tin Pan Alley standard like "Angel Eyes" with a panache Linda Ronstadt can only dream about. She occupies a comfortable middle ground between Keeley Smith and Ann-Margret, with the ensemble concocting a heady fusion of Sun Ra, Tom Waits, Duke Ellington and Spike Jones. "Pork Chop," a comic exchange between Harry and saxophonist Roy Nathanson, sounds like it could be a Guys and Dolls outtake, and there's a charming duet about infidelity with special guest Elvis Costello called "Doncha Go Away Mad" (Costello, a big fan of the group, also sings lead on a collaboration with group member Brad Jones). The Passengers have fun stretching the boundaries of modern jazz, while the vocalists are delighted to stretch beyond our expectations of what we think they're capable of. One way or another, they'll gitcha.