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Jazz/Arturo Sandoval "Trumpet Evolution" (Crescent Moon/Columbia). The sort of disc that wins Grammys, and in this case, that's not a good thing. It's long been the province of trumpet (and sometime piano) player Arturo Sandoval to demonstrate for eternity the distinction between chops and music. Chops galore he's always had, as he does again here in this recreation of jazz trumpet styles from King Oliver to Wynton Marsalis (with waystops at Louis Arstrong, Cootie Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Miles Davis and many others.) Much better with the early masters than the later, it winds up to be a Quincy Jones-produced showcase full of the musical equivalent of costume jewelry. * * (Jeff Simon)
Jazz/Wendy Lands: Sings the music of "The Pianist" Wladyslaw Szpilman (Hip-O Universal). After seeing "The Pianist," the harrowing story of how pianist and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman narrowly escaped death in the Holocaust, this CD of calm, almost sleepy cabaret songs comes as something of a surprise. Calm and slow-paced, fitted out with English translations, the songs are sung to the accompaniment of a modest cafe band including a piano, acoustic guitars and percussion. This is, to put it mildly, mood music. Singer Wendy Lands reminds me a little of Holly Cole, the husky Canadian chanteuse. She gives the melodies a world-weary weight -- so much so that even such a lightweight lyric as "I Wish You'd Ask To Dance With Me" takes on a certain Weltschmerz. It's the best kind of cabaret -- it entertains, but tugs at the heart. * * * * (Mary Kunz)

Jazz/Vincent Herring, "All Too Real" (High Note). Whether or not Vincent Herring is the "new Cannonball" (he's probably the closest on alto saxophone we're going to get), his new disc is a specimen of mainstream bebop in 2002, with strong trumpet work from Jeremy Pelt and Anthony Wonsey on piano. There's nothing of any daring here but everything on it is tasty straight-ahead, second-set club jazz by proficient, if not great, players who clearly like to cook. * * * (J.S.)

Hard Rock/Ronnie James Dio, Stand Up and Shout: The Anthology (Rhino) The goofy Dungeons and Dragons imagery, the perpetual "devil-horn" hand gesture, the over the top album art -- Ronnie James Dio has never been one for subtlety. That said, he is one of the best singers in heavy rock history. This anthology covers all the bases rom his early days with Elf, to his pivotal work with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, an underrated but prolific stint as Ozzy Osbourne's replacement in Black Sabbath, and finally, with his own band, the creatively named Dio. This two-disc package is meticulously annotated, stuffed with great images and extremely inclusive. If you own only one Dio-related album, this should be it. That said, I'd still recommend the first three Rainbow albums and all four discs Dio cut with Sabbath. Cheesy, but great. * * * (Jeff Miers)

Reggae/Third World, Ain't Giving Up (Shanachie). Third World is probably best known for reggae classics such as "Now that We Found Love" and "Try Jah Love." Those exhilarating dance floor anthems from the late 1970s and early '80s typified the group's embrace of R&B and disco, and earned it a permanent place in the annals of Jamaican music. No such magical musical moments exist on this record. Things get off to a bland start with the title track, an upbeat if uninspiring account of trials and tribulations. A take on Bob Marley's "Natural Mystic" showcases Bunny Rugs' fine vocals and there is some lovely acoustic guitar ornamentation, but it sounds a bit watered down. That's true of much of this record -- the harmonies are well-executed, the melodies are smooth, but the material just lacks any innovation or edge. The lyrics are inspirational, but the songs are not very inspired. * * (J.C., Associated Press)

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