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New and noteworthy

MUSIC | Four new albums reviewed


New and noteworthy
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Wynton Marsalis Plays Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Hot Sevens (2023)

Wynton Marsalis

This live 2006 recording from the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater raises two questions: Why did Marsalis wait 17 years to release it? And how did this music, so guileless in its playfulness and its desire to entertain, ever run afoul of the morality police? The Marsalis ensemble adheres to Armstrong’s blueprints, but not suffocatingly so. The often twice-as-long lengths allow for stretching out if not for improvisation (much). And the playing reflects a familiarity with the originals born of genuine affection. There’s a lesson in here about the two-way street ­connecting high culture and low. But concentrate too hard on learning it and you’ll miss the point.


Local Life

Dave Perkins

“WYATI” is a Pilgrim’s Progress for disillusioned ­evangelicals, “Can’t Stop the Rain” appropriates the “rock” section of “MacArthur Park” and runs with it, and “Spit Shine the World” and “Beautiful City” bring hoary gospel tropes into the Americana age. Judging from the copyright dates, Perkins has been gathering these songs for almost as long as the band in which he plays, Chagall Guevara, has been a going concern. No wonder every one sounds lived in.


End of World

Public Image Ltd

No matter what one thinks of Oliver Anthony, “Rich Men North of Richmond” is too little too late. “Being Stupid Again,” however, this album’s cleanup track, is not. Atop a typically sinister, minimalistic sound bed, John Lydon rants against trans culture, math-is-racist culture, Marx-and-Lenin culture, ban-the-bomb and save-the-whale and give-peace-a-chance culture—pretty much everything worth ranting against. He uses fewer profanities than Anthony does too. None of the other 12 songs are as bracingly straightforward. But “LFCF” (liars, fakers, cheats, and frauds) comes close. As for whatever it is that Lydon “won’t do” in “The Do That,” it’s almost certainly not worth doing.


Anthology

Charlie Watts

Until the Rolling Stones get around to releasing their next (and final?) album—the one allegedly containing their late drummer’s last recordings—fans of that drummer who don’t already own the jazz recordings that he made to avoid gathering moss will savor this compilation. Completists will want the 2½-hour two-CD edition. But the 1½-hour two-LP vinyl condenses things nicely. And by concluding with “Take the ‘A’ Train,” it saves the best for last.


Arthur Baker

Arthur Baker Stian Roenning

Encore

In the mid-to-late ’80s, the producer-DJ Arthur Baker became a one-man cottage industry, providing kaleidoscopically imaginative extended 12-inch vinyl remixes of the biggest hits of the day to dance clubs and their indefatigable clientele. Drawing on practically every pop-music stratum, they came to embody a subgenre all their own, a phenomenon that Edsel Records has recently memorialized with Dance Masters: Arthur Baker: The Classic Dance Remixes.

Whether at 35 tracks (vinyl) or 43 (CD), the collection occasionally bogs down. Not every song was especially conducive to Baker’s wizardry (the Pet Shop Boys’ “Suburbia”), and some weren’t anything special to begin with. But when the method and the material meshed (Daryl Hall’s “Dreamtime,” Freeez’s “I.O.U.,” the two songs ­totaling 18 minutes featuring the pioneering hip-hop juggernaut Afrika Bambaataa), the results were recordings that you wished would never end. —A.O.


Arsenio Orteza

Arsenio is a music reviewer for WORLD Magazine and one of its original contributors from 1986. Arsenio resides in China.

@ArsenioOrteza

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