BILL BRUFORD'S EARTHWORKS ``Earthworks'' (E.G. Records EEGCD 48) - Possibly the most innovative jazz band around right now. Drummer Bruford is coming out of the bands Yes, King Crimson, and Genesis, but you'd never know it. He combines electronics with acoustics in a quartet format, and the original music involves everything from funk to swing and bop, to Oriental and Middle Eastern licks, to the avant-garde. Check out Django Bates, who plays keyboards, E-flat tenor horn, and trumpet: He's a young lion. KENNY ROGERS ``I Prefer the Moonlight'' (RCA 6484-1-R) - More smooth country pop from one of country-and-western's most endearing and enduring singers. The backgrounds are expansive - lots of synthesizers, strings, and horns. The highlight is Kim Carnes's ``Make No Mistake, She's Mine,'' a duet with Ronny Milsap that's a bit of a takeoff on Michael Jackson's ``She's mine/ No, she's mine'' duets with Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.
THE CARS ``Door to Door'' (Elektra 60747-1) - This latest from the Cars is an attempt to resurrect the quirky innovation of their early albums, after having settled into an airtight formula for several years. The best cuts are the Boomtown Rat-ish ``Leave or Stay,'' the Bowie-ish ``Fine Line,'' and the punkish title tune. The rest is pretty bland fare, awash with smooth harmonies and synthesizers.
THE WINANS ``Decisions'' (Qwest/War. 25520-1) - Inspiring and joyful gospel crossover from the Winans - the music incorporates soul, pop, rhythm-and-blues, in a musically and lyrically uplifting (and socially relevant) format. Quincy Jones did the fine arrangements, Anita Baker joins the four brothers on ``Ain't No Need to Worry,'' and Michael McDonald sings on ``Love Has No Color.'' All the songs were written by the Winans, except Elton John/Bernie Taupin's ``Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me.''
METALLICA ``The $5.98 EP/Garage Days Re-Revisited'' (Elektra 60757-1) - Here are those thrash metal boys in full obnoxious force, with rasping, screaming punk vocals and earsplitting, buzzing guitars. Despite the fact that they threw this one together in a garage, it sounds tight and rehearsed. The five tunes are all Metallica versions of songs from new-wave British heavy-metal bands. The lyrics on ``Last Caress'' are a brutal joke, but the rest are harmless.
WYNTON MARSALIS ``Marsalis Standard Time, Vol. 1'' (Columbia FC 40461) - Aside from his monster technique, composition is one of trumpeter Marsalis's strong points. On this one, he puts his writing talent aside and concentrates on standards, brilliantly played with his current quartet. The renditions of tunes like ``Cherokee,'' ``Autumn Leaves,'' and ``Without a Song'' add a new slant to old material. The rhythm flows freely, but the groove is as tight as a fist throughout.