Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey on September 11, 1988 · Page 152
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Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey · Page 152

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Sunday, September 11, 1988
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Page 152
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Asbury Park PressSunday, September 1 1. 1988 E5 Home Entertainment Reviews , GREGORY HINES: "Gregory :Hin" (CBS). It pays to know the . fight people. . , f ' Gregory Hines, an actor and dancer, has released a catchy, listeiiable collection of dance songs and ballads. But the album's success has far more to do with songwriter-producer-arranger-friend Luther Vandross than with Hines' rather bland singing. Vandross helped introduce Hines to the pop music world last year when they did a duet on "There's Nothing Better Than Love." Now Vandross takes friendship one step - further by wrapping Hines' voice around seven new songs. Hines has a high, thin voice that lacks the timbre of great soul singers such as Vandross. Perhaps Vandross knows this. Hines' voice is often buried amid a battalion of backup singers and only on "This Is What I Believe" does he get a chance to stretch out. If Vandross wants to promote a singer's career, he might try ex- Crystal Darlene Love, who sings backup on "Gregory Hines." "That Girl Wants to Dance With Me" is a hit single and "There's Nothing Better Than Love" is also included. HUM Kafie Associated Press HERB IE HANCOCK: "Perfect Machine" (Columbia). The title of this record says it all a machine could have made much of it, and in fact often does. Hancock, a jazz veteran who , .pioneered the jazz-rock fusion style, plays no less than 12 different , keyboards nearly all programmed , , by computer on "Perfect f Machine." ft may be state of the art, but it "doesn't have much soul. 1 " The six songs on "Perfect Machine" are neatly divided into r , three complex instrumental full j of distorted voices and insect-like buzzes, pops and pings and three funkier pieces with vocals by i. Sugarfoot of the Ohio Players. .', Of the instrumental, "Maiden Voyage-B.Pop" is the best, featuring some fret-popping bass from William "Bootsy" Collins and two sweeping, ' eloquent piano solos by Hancock. "Perfect Machine" features a slashing keyboard melody in its stop-start, - mechanical rhythm, while "Chemical Residue" is a meandering piece full . of whispery computer voices. - - Collins and Sugarfoot step to the forefront on the three vocal tracks, all ; of which are eminently danceable. ' "Beat Wise," which kicks off Side 2, ', has Collins at his thunderous best, ll putting some real life into the record. "Obsession" continues Hancock's l herky-jerky keyboard exercises, while I "Vibe Alive" brings up Sugarfoot's I yowling vocals. t -As a dance record, "Perfect I Machine" would work just fine -J cranked up to top volume. As technology, lX mav a milestone. I But as jazz, rock or funk or J- "any Combination thereof it's as - sterile as a computer chip. Curt Anderson -; - Associated Press "ROBERT PALMER: "Heavy tNovt" (EMI Manhattan). Long- sought success is sweet, but it can J also ve unduly seductive. ill 'TSsk Robert Palmer. After years of ;'culuigure status, releasing an ! heeswonal irresistible song to a !C mostly indifferent public, hits such as J ?AdJicted to Love" made this British l Veteran an established star. !' ! "--With the new "Heaw Nova," he J face the challenge of keeping that stai3n the rise. . ' ;;Kt)fortunately, Palmer takes the easyroute. Everything about the : - single, "Simply Irresistible," from the .' Chufika-chunka Power Station beat to ) (he; itprise of beautiful women ' pouting in the video, smells like a t " . rip-off. Even more annoying, he's t"; ripping off himself. . Jt leaves a bad taste that "Heavy Nova" doesn't have the strength to ) - recover from, despite some admirable attcrhpts at stretching out. ;,-' 'JMore Than Ever" is a noisy car i '-1 wreck of a song. The attempt at . crossing cultures in "Change His . Ways," which mixes yodeling, a " rollicking accordion and a vocal riff ; lifted from "The Lion Sleeps i Tonight," sounds like a confused airline terminal on a hot day. ; Palmer's at his best when he C relaxes and lets his good taste take 5 tver."She Makes My Day" is a first- rats pop song that easily eclipses v everything on this record. "Disturbing Behavior," which gives ' , " Palmer the chance to show off his . strong, soulful voice, is another I -. success. ; I . If he'd trusted these instincts a ' little more, "Heavy Nova" would J ' have been better. David Bander Associated Press Jah Love infusing Shore with the echoes of reggae By ROBERT SANTELU Press Correspondent You might call Jah Love and the Survivors the hardest-working bar band at the Shore this summer. If not the hardest-working, then surely the busiest. Few bar bands work six nights a week, even during the height of July and August. These days, Jah Love and the Survivors, the Shore's most popu lar reggae band, often work seven. . "We would work eight if there was another day in the week," said Jamaican-born Jah Love, the bandleader and singer who now lives in Belmar. "We are more successful now than we ever were. All kinds of people are dancing to our music now." Actually, Jah Love's stock began to rise a year ago when Shore superstar Bruce Springsteen jammed with the band in such local clubs as the Green Parrot in Neptune and Key Largo in Belmar. Because of the Bruce-link, Love and the Survivors were written up in Time and Rolling Stone, and suddenly, wherever the reggae band played, lines formed. Most of the Springsteen-related hoopla has since passed, but during the JOAN ARMATRADING Can only be be flattered Koss Pro450 headphone lives up to its billing Thirty years ago John Koss invented the stereo headphone, or stereo-phone, as he calls it. That, original, ungainly head ornament consisted of a couple of small speakers, like those found in transistor radios, inside large plastic ear cups surrounded with stiff foam. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the stereophone, Koss introduced the Pro450 Studio Pro this year. It looks like the designers at Koss have driven a Ford lately, because the Pro450 is to headphones what the TaurusSable models are to cars: attractive and smoothly rounded, with a hint of European styling influence. Like Ford cars, Koss stcreophones are made in the U.S.A. The smooth, gray ear cups, vaguely trapezoidal in shape, contain a dual-element dynamic driver. In other words the driver, or ear speaker, consists of both a woofer and tweeter. Foam-filled Pneumalite ear cushions rest ever-so-gently on your ears. In concept, these phones resemble the stereophones of yore, being fairly large and sealing out external sounds; yet they weigh less than a pound. The leather-covered headband lacks the padding of previous Koss models. It flexes easily and must be bent to conform to your head shape, much in the way that eyeglasses must be precisely fitted. Those listeners without an ample cushion of hair may find the headband somewhat uncomfortable; Koss should plump it up with a bit of extra padding. A thinner, lighter weight coiled cord plugs into the Pro450. Every headphone should come with a detachable cord, so that worn and damaged cords can easily be replaced. The wire inside the cable has been improved from older models, now being made from oxygen-free copper. The Pro450 lives up to its billing as the flagship Koss stereophone. The wide-range sound does justice to the frequency and volume extremes of Sale of Marley The Washington Post THERE'S CONTINUING controversy in Jamaica over the government's, decision to sell off the assets of the Bob Marley estate, including his label and studio. Tuff Gong, and his publishing interests, to Chris Blackwell of Island Records, for whom Marley recorded. Cedella Booker, Marley's mother JAH LOVE and the Survivors are scheduled to perform at 10:30 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 25 at Jenkinson's Pavilion on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach. Admission is free. band's streak of good luck when the Boss shared center stage with Love, a number of people who heard Love and the Survivors became faithful fans. "It was a good thing that happened to us," Love said. "It was definitely a good thing." In addition to being the busiest band at the Shore, Jah Love and the Survivors might also be the largest. Behind Love is a powerful nine-piece band made up of trumpet player Tom Bender, Red Bank; saxophone player Paul Ende, Long Branch; trombone player Ben Buckwald, Lavallette; bass player Paul Roberts, Fair Haven; percussionist Chino Roberts, Asbury Park; lead guitarist Steve Clarke, Long Branch; rhythm guitarist Theo Jackson, Lakewood; keyboards player Dez-zie Norman, Belmar, and drummer Stanley Taylor, Long Branch. "Sometimes having a band so big is a problem," Love said. "Sometimes Armatrading breaks ground in new album Knight-Ridder Newspapers After 15 years spent methodically molding her music, it's probably poetic justice that the one year British singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading decided to stay home to rest, to garden, to do anything but write songs was the first year she received big-time attention in the United States. The buzz started in 1985 with Suzanne Vega, who, when she sprang onto the scene, cited Armatrading as a primary influence. This led to a re-examination of Armatrading's work, which has continued through a wave of new singer-songwriters, including Tracy Chapman and Toni Childs. All of them acknowledged Armatrading, and confessed that they studied her approach to song-writing and admired her characters and Stereo Rich IVADDriJ compact discs. You'll feel on intimate terms with Zarathustra from the first low organ notes of Richard Strauss' composition (the "Theme from 2001"). These phones incorporate a modest bass boost, which is something of a Koss trademark. On the other hand, Koss forsakes its occasional overemphasis on the treble with the Pro450 so that high frequencies sound natural without drilling holes in your eardrum. The overall tonal balance sounds pleasingly smooth. The bass boost gives male voices a bit of extra body without making them sound boomy or tubby. The only compromise of the Pro450 is that when reproducing bass-heavy music it loses some clarity and detail. Sony's top-of-the-line phones articulate the mid-range and treble slightly better. Full-sized stereophones in the Koss tradition began vanishing when the Walkman craze, with its tiny, ultralight phones, swept the market. Koss itself makes several models of ultralights, including the excellent Porta-Pro. Conventional ear-sealing phones provide a certain type of listening experience missing from the hear-through phones. The $175 Pro450 envelopes you in the most positive aspects of this experience. The Pro450 will work with personal portables producing sufficient output. It efficiently makes use of audio power. Needless to say, don't wear the Pro450 outdoors, or even indoors if you need to hear ambient sound. When you want to be alone with your music, retreat with the Pro450. Rich Warren is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. His column appears Sundays. estate queried and legal guardian of his 16-year-old son Rohan, is trying to block the sale, claiming that Island's reported high bid of $8.2 million is too low. Last month lawyers for two of Marley's 1 1 children (by eight different women) did block the sale, arguing that the price was suspiciously low and that Island may in fact owe the estate royalties. A decision has been delayed until lawyers have time to assess the estate's value. it's like watching over a bunch of little kids. But I need all the musicians to fill out my sound. My sound is my success." The "Jah Love Sound" is a clever configuration of roots reggae, rockers reggae, rhythm and blues, soul, and a smattering of jazz, heard mostly in the horn solos. The end result is a delectable brand of reggae that draws people to the dance floor and keeps them there throughout each set. "Reggae is about feeling good, feeling happy," Love continued. "It's got a good rhythm. People have to dance to the music. They can't escape its power." Unlike other area reggae bands, the Survivors enjoy the advantage of being led by Love, who spent a number of years recording in Kingston, Jamaica, regie's birthplace, with stalwarts such as Aston "Family Man" Barrett of the Wailers. Love's inherent feel for roots reggae is what gives his band an authentic Jamaican dance-hall presence onstage. Love married an American in 1980 and moved to the metropolitan area shortly thereafter. He eventually got divorced and wound up at the Jersey Shore, where he formed the Survivors. "I am an artist," Love said. "I know reggae. That's why I started my band." the bluesy warmth of her delivery. , Until this month, Armatrading was nowhere to be found. Her last album was the much-hailed "Sleight of Hand" in 1986. So how did she break her silence? With "The Shouting Stage," perhaps the most consistent and risk-taking album of her career. Armatrading won't say it, but her cool confidence does: The young imitators will have some catching up to do. The one-time layoff did the influential singer-songwriter some good: This album is a giant leap. "People don't believe me that I've only heard a snippet of Tracy Chapman," Armatrading said in a telephone interview from her home outside London, as she geared up for a tour this month. The Chapman question is one she has gotten a lot lately. "But I don't buy w A Trip to NASHVILLE And Attend AWARD Listen to Hoeii, n.j. METS Y, '$ -- : VM Co- ' BEN OE MARCOAttwry Pi JAH LOVE "We would work eight if there was another day in the week." One of Love's trademarks is to string together bits and pieces of popular reggae and soul songs within a framework of a general rhythm. It's not uncommon, for example, to hear sections of Bob Marley's "Stir It Up," Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now," and the Paragons' "The Tide Is High" in one set, along with such soul standards as the Temptations' "My Girl" and "Don't Look Back." The element that ties these song records, and I've been busy working on my project. . . . From what I've heard of her, I can only be flattered. I'm happy to think people could have been listening so closely." Those who listen closely to "The Shouting Stage" will hear an artist working to exceed the increasingly prepackaged emotional limits of the pop song. After 13 albums, which established her as a major star in Europe yet rade her scarcely more than a cult figure in the United States, Armatrading is working to change the things she doesn't like about current pop. She has a laundry list of grievances. She's tired of songs that sit stagnant in one rhythmic pattern. "Words" and "Straight Talk," two adventurous compositions from the new album, are mini-suites that shift effortlessly from one tempo to another. HIE UWRY MUSC 1160AM STAR COUNTRY For Details. (2d364-4400 COUNTRY BASEBALL NEWS IN STEREO X' snippets together is Love's woolly and weathered voice, which recalls the vocal style of such reggae masters as Toots Hibbert, Burning Spear, and Joe Higgs. "1 have a lot of influences, including the great Bob Marlcy," Love said. "But I always try to sound like no one but me. 1 try to be myself on stage. When I do that I know things are right." Armatrading, 38, wants more perspective in the songs. Time and again on "The Shouting Stage," she evokes an air of argument, a clip of dialogue, anything that adds to the equation. "I write a lot about emotions, and relationships," she said, explaining that of 40 songs written for this album, the 10 she chose were about people and interaction. She explains the inspiration for "The Shouting Stage," thelbum's title song: "In England, there are these two magazines, the Woman and Woman's Own. They have lots of different articles about all sorts of things. They did a series on arguing, with the different ways that people argue. The spat. The violent argument. The abandonment. They decided that everybody argues at some point, it's just a stage that everybody seems to get to. They didn't have a shouting stage, but I think that's there, too." ... So

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