Bop the Question

Drawing insight from the month's best in jazz, blues and heritage, Gumbo answers readers' nagging queries

National Geographic for the ears: Nobody's topped EMI in packaging topnotch collections of world music that do what they're supposed to do: make the listener drop big bucks for full-length albums of the best artists. Now we've got to finance four foreign invasions thanks to the release of The Story of Chanson, The Story of Arabic Song, The Story of Cuba and The Story of Bossa Nova -- all of them surprisingly unique in their choice of artists touted.

Though not the definitive collections, Inner Circle's Big in Jamaica: The Best of Inner Circle (Music Club) and The Best of King Tubby: King Dub (Music Club) will flesh out your reggae comprehension in time for the next ganja convention. Brasil Acoustico (Music Club) introduces us to five contemporary Brazilians who are patriotically upholding their country's history of producing music drenched in sex and romance, proving that the nation's flag should be a thong bikini on a stick.

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