by Michael Bowen and Carey Murphy & r & Bill Charlap & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941.462634600 & amp;type=10 & amp;subid= & quot; & Bill Charlap Plays George Gershwin & lt;/a & **** & r & Playing Gershwin, Bill Charlap moves from one American icon (Leonard Bernstein in last year's Somewhere, 2004) to another. But this time, in addition to the two Washingtons who form his usual trio (Peter on bass, Kenny on drums), he draws on an all-star four-man horn section on six of the 10 tracks. The most impressive turn is Phil Woods' alto sax on "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," twisting in single-note dialogue with Charlap's piano. Frank Wess contributes a breathy (and too closely miked?) tenor on "How Long Has This Been Going On?" that builds to a beautiful but desolate finish. Fluttering the notes on his solo, trumpeter Nicholas Payton leads the septet's assertive yet soft approach to "Nice Work If You Can Get It." On trombone, Slide Hampton's best turn comes on "'S Wonderful," slipped in among some rapid-fire hand-offs among all the players. The dreamiest of Charlap's own solos? His single-note plinking on "A Foggy Day." You can practically feel the mist closing in around you. -- Michael Bowen
The Joggers & lt;a href= & quot;http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=rQy1MLe70wI & amp;offerid=78941.462634601 & amp;type=10 & amp;subid= & quot; & With a Cape and a Cane & lt;/a & ** & r & Portland-based three-piece and CMJ alums the Joggers offer a debut with punch and pizzazz and a whole lotta spaz. Intricate time signatures characterize a sound that's part Deerhoof-chic and, on tracks like "Wicked Light Sleeper," early (meaning good) Chili Pepper-style funk. Don't be fooled, though -- this is energetic and enthusiastic indie-pop.
"Yawning Brahmins" drips self-congratulating cleverness. Even the razor-sharp guitars and tribal drumming can't change the lyrics that are lame, lame, lame. "Night of the Horsepills" suffers similarly ("It weighs an ounce in silver / And 10 pounds in fresh meat"). "Horny Ghost" suppresses some prog-rock aspirations, and it's really a shame -- definitely a lost chance to make this album even more memorable for its weirdness. "White Madam" is the clincher that will keep the disc in rotation. Just a tease: It braves what "Horny Ghost" resists.
But they're only Joggers, not yet aware of their abilities. They need time to train. And given time, they just might blossom into the cape-wearing superheroes hidden in their potential. -- Carey Murphy