The Hill between hip-hop and pop

CD REVIEWS

August 27, 1998|By J.D. Considine Jazz

Lauryn Hill

1/2

Chris Kaltenbach

Squirrel Nut Zippers

Perennial Favorites (Mammoth 354 980 169)

Because they use crooning saxophones in place of screaming guitars, the Squirrel Nut Zippers are seen as part of the swing revival. But the evidence found on "Perennial Favorites" argues otherwise. True, the band has its share of hot jazz numbers, particularly "Suits Are Picking Up the Bill" and the jovial "Pallin' with Al," but swing isn't all they do. "The Ghost of Stephen Foster" flirts with klezmer, while "My Drag" is presented as a sort of Middle-Eastern tango. Not the usual blend of influences, sure, but that's kind of the point. Because when you get right down to it, the Zippers are much better at concocting pop oddities like "Trou Macacq" than at playing the sort of jazz they attempt on "That Fascinating Thing."

**1/2

J.D. Considine

Soundtracks

'Titanic'

Titanic: Back to Titanic (Sony Classical/Sony Music Soundtrax 60691)

They may not be able to raise the ship itself, but they have found a way to float another soundtrack album from "Titanic." Although it would be tempting to describe "Back to Titanic" as an album of leftovers, the album doesn't sound like second-hand goods. The tracks "An Irish Party in Third Class" and Maire Brennan's rendition of "Come Josephine in My Flying Machine" really bring out the Celtic elements woven through James Horner's score. But for hard-core fans, the real draw of the album is having dialogue included with "My Heart Will Go On," so they can once again hear the doomed lovers say their goodbyes as Celine Dion emotes in the background.

***

J.D. Considine

Dance With Me'

Music From the Motion Picture (Epic/Soundtrax 68905)

Obviously, you can't make a movie about salsa dancing without a lot of dance music on the soundtrack. Even so, it's a surprise to find such a compelling collection of Latin dance tracks as those included in "Dance With Me: Music From the Motion Picture." It isn't just that the album is packed with first-rate talent, from Gloria Estefan and Jon Secada to Ruben Blades and Albita; the music also runs the gamut, including everything from the hi-tech tropical pulse of Elvis Crespo's "Suavamente" or Black Machine's throbbing, electronic "Jazz Machine" to the classic Cuban pulse of Albita's "Fiesta Pa'Los Rumberos" and the old-school disco of Estefan's "Heaven's What I Feel." It would be hard to imagine a better cross-section of contemporary tropical Latin pop.

***1/2

J.D. Considine Pub Date: 8/27/98

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