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Charles Lloyd - Canto (ECM): These seven tracks are a tapestry that can only be woven by master virtuosos who thoroughly know one another musically. Tenorist Charles Lloyd has cultivated his own identification even though he built his music on foundations laid by past legends. "Canto," the title tune, opens with pianist Bobo Stenson framing the piece, followed by a Lloyd solo that splashes brilliant tonal colors in complex patterns. Bassist Anders Jormin gently emerges, followed by drummer Billy Hart's delicate entrance. The selection ends with a serene full-quartet treatment.
- Dick Bogle
Mindy Jostyn - Cedar Lane (Palmetto Records): In the title cut of her second CD, Mindy Jostyn sings of the predictability of life on "Cedar Lane." But the music is anything but predictable. The multi-instrumentalist strums and picks, bows, and blows through blues, folk, pop, talking blues, jazz, and more while her vocals range from little-girl-sweet through bad-girl-growl, innocent and soft, to torchy sizzle. And all with a competence that easily explains the demand for Jostyn to play with some of the household names of pop. While the upbeat "Power, Sex, and Money" and "Other Guy's Girls" may grab your attention first, it's the ballads such as "So Fragile, I'll Thank You Someday," and "Too Far Gone" that will keep you coming back.
- Jef Scoville
Symphony 1997: Heaven, Earth, Mankind, Tan Dun With Yo-Yo Ma on Cello (Sony): In only 50 minutes, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, a children's choir, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra connect traditional Chinese music with Western-style symphony. Ma is spectacular with the cello, although Tan emphasizes that this is more than a showcase for Ma. Tan, who wrote and performed the music for the handover of Hong Kong to China, says, "It's a symphony, with the cello line acting as a bridge linking the ancient sound of bells with a choir of 300 children. I used the children's voices because they are innocent, pure, and full of hope. They are the future of Hong Kong."
- Luke Gutelius