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IN BRIEF

, Medicine Music (EMI-USA-CDP-7- 92048-2) The jazz pretense is finally and utterly gone. This is Bobby McFerrin in the manner of South Africa's wonderful Lady smith Black Mombazo,in multiple overdub and with his remarkable 10-member "Voicestra." For all that, it's as personal a record as he has yet made (his Met Opera father -- who dubbed Sidney Poitier's singing in the movie of "Porgy and Bess" -- sings on one track). "I have never been really sure that what I do is unique," he says with startling insight. "It seemed really old to me, like the continuation of an ancient tradition I don't know about." I like him better when his infectious eruptions play off jazz musicians in ways he himself doesn't expect, but there's lovely and glorious music here and he remains one of the most fascinating talents in music. Rating: 1/2 -- Jeff Simon

THE CHARLATANS U.K., Some Friendly (Beggar's Ban quet/BMG 2411-1-H). What's so special about this hot new college-alternative fave from England? They're not weird. They're not avant. They're not even very catchy. And the songs are less than memorable. At their best, they'll remind you of a lot of funky '60s psychedelic bands you liked a lot better. Rating:
-- Dale Anderson
Jazz Wynton Marsalis , Tune in Tomorrow (Columbia CK- 47044). "Young poets are influenced," said T.S. Eliot. "Ma ture poets steal." For his superb film score to Jon Amiel's film failure "Tune in Tomorrow," Wynton Marsalis stole shame lessly from the greatest of all jazz film scores, Duke Elling ton's score for Preminger's "Anatomy of a Murder." Add to that the spices and celebrations of Marsalis' native New Orle ans and you really have something -- in some ways Marsalis' best record in a very good and productive year. True, Marsalis the composer doesn't begin to have Ellington's melodic ravish ments, but he knows how to get favored and familiar musi cians together in witty, pungent Ellingtonian voicings. It doesn't hurt, of course, that he has one of jazz's pyrotechnic trumpet players -- himself -- to play Bubber Miley or Cootie Williams vocalisms in this Ellingtonian ensemble. Rating: -- Jeff Simon
GEORGE RUSSELL, New York, N.Y. (MCA-Decca MCAD- 31371). And you thought "if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere" was from Kander and Ebb's big, blowzy bombastic production number from Martin Scorsese's failed musical movie with Liza Minelli. Uh-uh. That -- and the venerable observation that New York is "the city so nice they named it twice" -- came from Jon Hendricks' delightfully jivey narration for one of George Russell's greatest works, a 1958-59 collection that sent John Coltrane into the wild blue yonder of the Lydian mode and collected some of Manhattan's best musicians of the time (Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Evans, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Phil Woods) to play some of the most challenging and swinging large orchestral charts they'd ever play. Rating: -- J.S.
Top Ten SINGLES
(1) Because I Love You, Stevie B (LMR). (2) From a Distance, Bette Midler (Atlantic). (3) I'm Your Baby Tonight, Whitney Houston (Arista). (4) Justify My Love, Madonna (Sire). (5) Impulsive, Wilson Phillips (SBK). (6) The Way You Do the Things You Do, UB40 (Virgin). (7) Tom's Diner, DNA featuring Suzanne Vega (A&M). (8) Something to Believe In, Poison (Enigma). (9) Freedom, George Michael (Columbia). (10) High Enough, Damn Yankees (Warner Bros.).
ALBUMS
(1) To the Extreme, Vanilla Ice (SBK). (2) Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em, M.C. Hammer (Capitol). (3) Mariah Carey, Mariah Carey (Colum bia). (4) I'm Your Baby Tonight, Whitney Houston (Arista). (5) The Immaculate Collection, Madonna (Sire). (6) Rhythm of the Saints, Paul Simon (Warner Bros.). (7) Some People's Lives, Bette Midler (Atlantic). (8) Wilson Philips, Wilson Philips (SBK). (9) The Razor's Edge, AC-DC (Atco). (10) Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, George Michael (Columbia).

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