Weekly Wire
Tucson Weekly Rhythm & Views

OCTOBER 27, 1997: 

LISA STANSFIELD

Self-titled
Arista

WITH SUDDENLY SINGLE Mariah Carey's "Butterfly" racing Janet Jackson's "The Velvet Rope" up the charts, it looks like the best R&B album by a female vocalist is likely to get lost in the shuffle. And that's a shame, because Lisa Stansfield's self-titled CD is one hot, self-assured piece of work. Whether she's bouncing through an update of Barry White's "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up," growling "I Cried My Last Tear, Last Night," or dabbling in funk-laden political commentary in "The Line," Stansfield gives better Aretha than airbrushed Carey and body-by-Tupperware Jackson could do on their best days, combined.

--Tom Danehy


VARIOUS ARTISTS

Wouldn't It Be Nice: A Jazz Portrait Of Brian Wilson
Blue Note Records

COUPLING JAZZ WITH the Beach Boys isn't as far-out an idea as one might imagine, given the improvising potential available in Wilson's complex harmonies and unpredictable melodies. You'll find both used to the full extent on Vince Mendoza and John Abercrombie's "Don't Talk Put Your Head On My Shoulder," and Eliane Elias' medley of "Our Sweet Love/Friends." Interspersed among guest artists like Larry Carlton and the Yellowjackets is Clark Burroughs, the original lead tenor of the Hi Los, leading his a cappella group through five frustratingly brief snippets of beach classics. The admirable project is unfortunately diluted by an overload of skim-milk jazzers like Don Grusin at the expense of bringing in more heavy hitters like Elias. The Blue Note label recently started releasing jazz interpretations of entire classic pop/rock albums--maybe this will inspire them to tackle Pet Sounds. Shortcomings aside, kudos to the label for getting jazzers to play something other than those goddamn, beat-to-death Gershwin/Porter/Kern standards.

--Dave McElfresh


TENDERLOIN

Tenderloin
Time Bomb

TENDERLOIN HAS A big, beefy, ear-piercing sound, like a sledge hammer bashing a cow skull; and as meaty as Captain Beefheart's saucy blues-rock shepherd's pie if it were still served today. The band is a prime filet-mignon blues-punk hybrid: equal parts Beefheart, Soundgarden and the Supersuckers churning on a slow-roasting spit. Sink your teeth into "Fat Side Up," a harp-driven ode to the 'Loins penchant for blood-dripping climactic delight. On "Lights Out" and "Pawn Shop," lead barker Ernie evokes the twisted-but-brilliant dementia of Beefheart fueled on late-night, juke-joint indiscretions. The speedy punk raunchiness of the hooch-guzzling "Bourbon" confirms the 'Loins preference for over-indulgent alcoholic libation and some damn serious head banging. This behemoth Austin four-piece even manages to mangle ZZ Top's "Precious and Grace" to dizzying effect.

--Ron Bally


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