Albums And Live Acts

Coming CDs and tours cover the spectrum

Pop Music

September 02, 2004|By Rashod D. Ollison | Rashod D. Ollison,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC

As the leaves change to those magnificent shades of red and gold and the air becomes cooler, the music will smolder. On Sept. 28, Queen Latifah, who began her multi-faceted career as a rapper, will drop The Dana Owens Album, a collection of pop, jazz and R&B standards. The album title is her given name.

On the same day, 16-year-old British soul sensation Joss Stone releases the follow-up to her gold debut, The Soul Sessions. The new record, Mind, Body & Soul, is not another set of covers. Stone ventures into pop territory but retains the gritty, gutsy delivery that belies her age. In October, we get a two-disc set of John Mellencamp's greatest hits. And in the same month, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, formerly of A Tribe Called Quest and Lucy Pearl, releases his long-awaited solo project, Shaheedullah and Stereotypes.

But while we wait for those albums, an array of interesting artists will be playing in the area. We'll get our fill of funk, soul and rock in many styles: punk, metal, folkish, avant garde, pop-splashed. One local group, Fertile Ground, defies categorization as the ensemble offers an earthy mix of soul, jazz and world music. Its new release is the evocative Black Is ... Fertile Ground will play the Funk Box Sunday with B'more's own jazz-fusion artist, Lafayette Gilchrist.

Independent folk-pop maverick Ani DiFranco brings her Vote Dammit! tour to the Lyric Opera House on the third anniversary of 9/11. The next week, on the 18th, Grammy-winning neo soul sista Alicia Keys plays Pier Six Concert Pavilion to benefit the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, which opens in early 2005. Rocker Lenny Kravitz, whose latest CD is the listless Baptism, takes the stage at the Nissan Pavilion the same night.

The sorely overlooked sophisticated pop stylist Julia Fordham performs at Rams Head Tavern Sept. 20. Her latest effort, That's Life, is a pearl of a record -- a seamless, elegant marriage of great, cutting lyrics (all by Fordham) and inspired, open production (thanks to Larry Klein, best known for his work with former wife Joni Mitchell). The show is sure to be a treat. Other acts worth checking out include British power pop band Keane at the 9:30 Club on Sept. 28, the Beastie Boys at Patriot Center Oct. 8 and R. Kelly and Jay-Z at 1st Mariner Arena that same night.

The weather may be getting colder, but the music will be sure to keep us warm.

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