AGAINFreddie Jackson (Capitol 92217)It's easy to...


January 25, 1991|By J. D. Considine | J. D. Considine,Sun Pop Music Critic


Freddie Jackson (Capitol 92217)

It's easy to understand why it's so tempting to compare Freddie Jackson to Luther Vandross. After all, both singers are ,, blessed with light, creamy voices, flawless technique, and a real gift for crooning. But where Vandross likes to power through his love songs, Jackson invariably takes a lighter touch, and that's what makes his "Do Me Again" worth replaying. Whether riding )) the slow, sinuous groove of "Love Me Down" or breathily declaring his devotion in the soulful "I'll Be Waiting for You," Jackson understands that sometimes, the soft sell is the most convincing.

Judge her by the company she keeps, and it's hard not to be impressed with singer and pianist Shirley Horn. With "You Won't Forget Me," that company includes such stellar soloists as Toots Thielmans, Wynton and Branford Marsalis and, on the title tune, legendary trumpeter (and longtime admirer) Miles Davis. Yet Horn would be worth trumpeting even without the celebrity cameos, for few singers could ever hope to top what her soft, satiny voice can do with a melody. Best of all, Horn doesn't interpret a song so much as inhabit it, and the insinuating charm she lends "Come Back to Me" or "It Had to Be You" is unmistakable and irresistible.

Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith -- better known as EPMD -- have never ranked among rap's smoothest talkers. From the first, their records have been brutally simple and devastatingly effective, matching raw-edged rhymes with a straight-up, gimmick-free groove. Somehow, though, the team has managed up the ante for its third album, the hard-hitting "Business As Usual." Some of the added impact can be chalked up to tougher material, as the group adds a gangsta rap edge to the likes of "Manslaughter" and "Hit Squad Heist." But it's the laconic confidence of the duo's delivery that ultimately makes this "Business" worth investing in.


Charlatans UK (Beggars Banquet 2411)

Despite the fashionable veneer of Manchester's acid house scene, the fact remains that what many Mancunian rockers are offering is really just reheated '60s psychedelia. That's certainly the case with the Charlatans UK, whose "Some Friendly" manages to recall the moody, hypnotic atmosphere of early Traffic albums, although without the advantage of Traffic's memorable melodies. That's not to say the group doesn't come up with a good one now and again; "The Only One I Know" is giddily insinuating, and not just because of its relentlessly percolating groove. But for the most part, this album is all warm-up and no delivery.


Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.