Music

GrooveOut Shorts: July 2008

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The Refuge, Alanis Morissette, Cherish, Julian Yeo, Chanté Moore, Katy Perry, Duffy, South Pacific, Capathia Jenkins & Louis Rosen, Billy Joel, Hercules, Ashanti, Nicolas Matar & Willie Graff, Jay Brannan, Neverdie, Portishead.

By Nancy Ford, David Goldberg, and Tim Brookover

(Go to GrooveOut Shorts 2) 

RefugeHouston Grand Opera
The Refuge

Houston Grand Opera premiered this contemporary opera by out librettist Leah Lax and composer Christopher Theofanidis in late 2007 to rave reviews. It retells the courageous and uplifting stories of our city’s immigrant communities. Albany Records (www.houstongrandopera.org). — Preview: Nancy Ford

G
CD Global 2
This double CD set contains music from 14 different countries, all of which apparently appreciate a thumpy, humpy club mix. A stand-out: the interesting, multi-layered “Act Up, Fight Back” final cut on the first CD, an inspiring tribute to the notoriously “unpolite” AIDS organization of the ’90s. Woobie Bear Music (www.woobiebearmusic.com). — Review: Nancy Ford

AlanisAlanis Morissette
Flavors of Entanglement
That Angry Woman admits to often writing “in retrospect,” but this new release, she says, “was written in real time.” The breakout single, “Underneath,” is lovely, profound, and inspiring, just as you might expect. Maverick/Enterprise (www.alanismorrissette.com). — Review: Nancy Ford

Cherish
The Truth
Destiny’s Child is done. TLC went down in a painful inferno. Who will the next generation turn to when craving a “Don’t Go Chasin’ Waterfalls”? These four young sisters of Cherish bring some much-needed bounce in their second CD, and prove their potential as future hip-hop sensations. Sho’Nuff Records (www.sho-nuffrecords.com). — Review: David Goldberg

YeoJulian Yeo
Unusual Passage

In his second album, Mr. Yeo brings his soothing and drama-free style to the big-band genre. The Gay Aussie of Asian descent has potential to make a lovely splash in the post-Sinatra world. A good disc to keep around the house. Yeomo Productions (www.julianyeo.com). — Review: David Goldberg

Chanté Moore
Love the Woman
Moore offers solid vocals and messages of female empowerment. So does Mary J. Blige — and better. When it comes to strong female R&B artists, we must bow to Queen Blige. Moore clearly has the talent to pull off a successful solo career, but not the unique sound. Peak Records (www.peak-records.com). — Review: David Goldberg

KatyPerryKaty Perry
One of the Boys
Playing songs like “I Kissed a Girl” and the somewhat controversial 2007 semi-hit “Ur So Gay,” Perry is one of a new wave of performers who teases she may or may not be gay, but knows where the smart pop money is. Capitol Records (www.katyperry.com). — Preview: Nancy Ford

Duffy
Rockferry
The concept of reincarnation receives new support with these original tunes from this Welsh-born singer/songwriter. Swear to god , it’s like Dusty Springfield has been reborn, especially with the title cut and “Sleeping Stone.” Deliciously retro. Mercury Records (www.iamduffy.com). — Review: Nancy Ford

SPacificNew Broadway Cast Recording
South Pacific

Since many people (myself included) consider South Pacific to be the greatest musical ever written, it seems rather incredible that it is only now enjoying its first Broadway revival since the 1949 opening. Check out the new Broadway cast recording of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific and judge for yourself. Original star Mary Martin will always be missed, but this Tony-winning new production, on CD at least, may be the best ever. — Review: Jack Varsi

OneOunceCapathia Jenkins & Louis Rosen
One Ounce of Truth

Singer Jenkins (whose credits include a featured role in the Tony Kushner/Jeanine Tesori show Caroline, or Change) and composer/performer Rosen team up again for a 13-song cycle inspired by Nikki Giovanni poems. Tracks range from luminous art songs (“The Moon Shines Down”) to an unexpected lullaby (“Kiss a Frog”). PS Classics (www.psiclassics.com). — Review: Tim Brookover  

(Go to GrooveOut Shorts 2)

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