Rhythmstick (CTI- 847-199-2) In the '70s, the lavishly pro duced showcases on Creed Taylor's CTI label probably ac counted for more converts to jazz than any other single label in its history. Whatever doubts critics and musicians had about CTI, you had to give them that. With a jump start from Japanese yen, the slumbering giant has reawakened and Benny Golson's tribute to the rhythmic influence and mastery of Kennedy Center honoree Dizzy Gillespie is its first new disc. It's named after one of Dizzy's homemade percussion instru ments and convenes Gillespie, Art Farmer, Phil Woods, Airto, Flora Purim, Bob Berg, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, John Sco field, Robbin Ford, Tito Puente, Charlie Haden, Hilton Ruiz, Jon Faddis, Jimmy McGriff and Randy Brecker to be among the celebrators. It is, in its overelaborate and oversize way, every bit the festival that was intended. Rating:*** 1/2 -- Jeff Simon
LARRY CORYELL, American Odyssey (DRG-5213). A New Age mistake for undiscriminating guitar maniacs, featuring the extraordinary guitarist who will be at the Marquee at the Tralf on Jan. 12. Wayne Shorter, no less, is a guest soloist on two cuts. The idea of Coryell playing 12-string guitar versions of Copland's "Rodeo" and "El Salon Mexico" and Samuel Bar ber's "Adagio for Strings" isn't new (he has done similar things to Stravinsky) but right up there in waywardness and misapplied technique with that Suzuki-trained Japanese gui tarist who thought the world was crying out for a solo guitar version of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" (the Great Gate of Kiev sounded like the entrance to a restaurant wine cellar). Far more tolerable are the two Coryell originals on the disc. Rating:** -- J.S.
WARREN BERNHARDT, Ain't Life Grand? (DMP- CD-478). A gorgeous sleeper of a piano trio disc from one of the prime guardians of jazz piano's Bill Evans wing -- delicate without being precious, cerebral without being bloodless. Mike Maini eri's drippily titled "Sara's Touch" was one of the most beautiful tunes ever played by Steps, Bernhardt's best-known group setting and one of the loveliest tunes by anyone in many years. Bernhardt's trio version is no less beautiful without the choking dollops of saccharine often spooned into ballads by contemporary Evansites. So, too, are his blues strong and thoughtful, his swingers uncommonly deft and his ballads poignant and graceful. Rating:**** -- J.S.
RENEE ROSNES, For the Moment (Blue Note CDP-7-9459-2). Her own tunes are amiable enough, but when the young pianist for the group OTB plays Monk's eccentric virtuoso piece "Four in One" and an up-tempo version of Harry Warren's "Summer Night" (made so famous by Miles Davis in his perfumed, erotically equatorial version), you want to rush up and hug her, shake her hand, pat her on the back -- or something. Joe Henderson and Steve Wilson are her reed soloists, and their respect is obvious. She's always a strong post-bop mainstreamer, but sometimes has flashes of startling inspiration and quirkish, scintillating intelligence. Rating:*** 1/2 -- J.S.
Various Artists Rubaiyat: Elektra's 40th Anniversary (Elek tra 60940). Infinitely superior to the trashing of Cole Porter in the horrendous "Red White Blue," this sprawling project sets Elektra's current artist lineup loose on 40 significant songs from the label's past with surprisingly few clunkers and plenty of magic moments: The Cure doing the Doors' "Hello, I Love You," Faster Pussycat romping through Carly Simon's "You're So Vain," Jackson Browne dusting off Incredible String Band's "First Girl I Loved" and 10,000 Maniacs illumi nating Browne's "These Days." Rating:**** -- D.A.
Top Ten SINGLES
(1) Because I Love You, Stevie B (LMR). (2) Justify My Love, Madonna (Sire). (3) From a Distance, Bette Midler (Atlantic). (4) Impulsive, Wilson Phillips (SBK). (5) Tom's Diner, DNA featuring Suzanne Vega (A&M). (6) High Enough, Damn Yankees (Warner Bros.). (7) I'm Your Baby Tonight, Whitney Houston (Arista). (8) Freedom, George Michael (Columbia). (9) The Way You Do the Things You Do, UB40 (Virgin). (10) Sensitivity, Ralph Tresvant (MCA).
(1) To the Extreme, Vanilla Ice (SBK). (2) Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em, M.C. Hammer (Capitol). (3) The Immaculate Collection, Madonna (Sire). (4) I'm Your Baby Tonight, Whitney Houston (Arista). (5) Mariah Carey, Mariah Carey (Columbia). (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).