ROD STEWART ``Out of Order'' (Warner Bros. 25684-1) - Stewart returns to his rock-and-roll roots, with satisfying results. His rusty-nail voice is as riveting as ever on great original songs like the funny, fiery ``Lethal Dose of Love'' and the moody ``Crazy About Her,'' as well as a hard-rock remake of ``Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out.'' BOZ SCAGGS ``Other Roads'' (Columbia FC 40463) - There's more bite on Scaggs's latest album (his first in eight years) than when his smooth ``Lowdown'' was a hit. A fine comeback, with strong writing and some memorable melodies and lyrics, especially the self-searching ``What's Number One?'' (lyrics by Scaggs and music by bassist Marcus Miller).Skip to next paragraph
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DAN REED NETWORK ``Dan Reed Network'' (Mercury 834 309-2) - An outstanding debut album from an interracial Oregon-based band that sounds a little like a hard-rock version of Prince. Dan Reed, alone, has enough charisma to push the band to the top of the charts. Straight ahead rock-and-roll, no compromises.
TRACIE SPENCER ``Tracie Spencer'' (Capitol C1-48186) - This 12-year-old newcomer has a sweet, yet strong voice that's mature beyond her years. Although she sings about romance, heartache, and deception on her debut album (hardly preteen subjects), the slick but unobtrusive soul/pop production gives Tracie a chance to be heard for exactly what she is: a talented and confident little girl who's ready to give Tiffany and Debbie Gibson (pop music's current child stars) some serious competition.
THE GENE HARRIS ALL-STAR BIG BAND ``Tribute to Count Basie'' - Instead of a tired Basie rehash, this is a knock-your-socks-off, bright, punchy, swinging big band that captures the Basie spirit while projecting its own energetic individuality. Features a lineup of fine musicians, including Jon Faddis and Conte Candoli on trumpets, Bill Watrous on trombone, Marshal Royal on alto sax, Herb Ellis on guitar, and Ray Brown on bass.
KEITH JARRETT-GARY PEACOCK-JACK DEJOHNETTE ``Still Live'' (ECM 1360/61 835008-1) - Bad sound mars this otherwise brilliant double album from the most creative and original jazz piano trio since the various Bill Evans groups. This, the third in the ``standards'' series, includes such chestnuts as ``Come Rain or Come Shine'' and ``My Funny Valentine,'' as well as Paul Desmond's lovely ``Late Lament'' and a Jarrett original, ``Extension.''
VARIOUS ARTISTS ``Fragments - Earthworks Sampler'' (Virgin PR 2295) - Cuts from Virgin's new subsidiary label, specializing in music from around the world, represent artists from Africa and the Caribbean, and selections include Zouk (Creole for ``party'') music, the jazz-inflected saxophone of Dudu Pukwana, guitar music of Zaire, and South Africa's renowned vocalist, Mahlathini.