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by Micahel Bowen and Andrew Matson & r & & r & Lord Jamar & lt;a href= & quot; & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp; & quot; & The 5% Album & lt;/a & 3.5 STARS & r & As a member of Golden-era legends Brand Nubian, Lord Jamar famously interwove a socially righteous sensibility into their Juice Crew/Native Tongues-esque songs. Though never as brazenly militant as Public Enemy, Brand Nubian was the unofficial mouthpiece for a certain late-'80s zeitgeist; their brand of Afro-centrism was the unspoken stuff of many an East Coast rapper, playing a role in acts as diverse as K.M.D and the Wu-Tang Clan.

Here, Lord Jamar puts it all on the line in an entire album dedicated to the Five Percenters, aka the Nation of Gods and Earths, an early, more secular-minded offshoot of Farrakhan's Nation of Islam. A & amp;R'ed by the Wu's Dreddy Kruger, The 5% Album features Wu-luminaries and Brand Nubian. There is also a song that features Jamar's son rapping with the adolescent progeny of both GZA and O.D.B. It comes with a 90-page booklet that outlines the 5% history and philosophy. Perhaps too intensely specific for the rap audience as a whole, this one goes out strictly to the Gods and Earths. -- Andrew Matson & r & Check Out: "Deep Space"

Ned Rorem & lt;a href= & quot; & amp;offerid=78941 & amp;type=3 & amp;subid=0 & amp;tmpid=1826 & amp; & quot; & Flute Concerto; Violin Concerto & lt;/a & 4 STARS & r & The usual line on Ned Rorem: outspoken and eloquent gay diarist who's composed hundreds of art songs. But Jose Serebrier's previous recordings of the three symphonies and now of these two concertos make a case for re-evaluating Rorem's orchestral music.

The Flute Concerto (2003), recorded here for the first time, is surprising in its contrast of soloist Jeffrey Khaner's lyrical trills with ominous timpani blasts; the beauty of Rorem's resolutely melodic temperament is often undercut by melancholy. Other surprises include the five-instrument orchestration of "Hymn" (the fourth of six movements in this fantasia) and the sudden release of coiled energy in "False Waltz."

Like The Violin Concerto (1985) features so much repeated interplay among the soloist and other instruments that it's more variations on a theme.

Pilgrims -- based on Hebrews 11:13 and full of remembrance -- also receives its premiere recording here. Melodic and yearning, it ends with a thrill and a hush. But then lyrical mournfulness infuses nearly every note that Ned Rorem writes. -- Michael Bowen & r & Check out: "Romance Without Words"
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