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Jazz CD Reviews
9 February 2000

By Mike Zwerin in Paris


ERIC CLAPTON, "Chronicles" (Reprise)
Warning. Old Slowhand has been singing the same old song too long. The once proud numbers have not worn well. The best of Eric Clapton is no longer worth a detour.


LE GENIE DE JOHN COLTRANE (Universal France/2CDs)
The best of John Coltrane, on the other hand, gets better, cooler and deeper with the passing of time. This intelligently programmed selection goes from "Giant Steps" to "A Love Supreme" by way of "Greensleeves." No exaggeration, a glimpse of God.


THE DOOBIE BROTHERS, "Long Train Runnin', 1970 - 2000" (Rhino/4CDs)
While the best of the Doobies continues to roar right along there in the middle of everyday life where it belongs and serves such good purpose for positive energy. Vacuum floors, dance with your sweetie, drive down the pike, review John Coltrane records - good old-time inspirational rock ‘n' roll.


JACK KEROUAC "Reads ‘On The Road'" (Rykodisc)
Good news. Contrary to what you may have feared, the story, the cast, the setting and the story-telling remain fresh and full of sauce and pep. The reading is humorous and enthusiastic and in appropriate grooves: "It was a sawdust saloon, all wood with a small bandstand near the john on which the fellows huddled with their hats on. A tenorman was blowing at the peak of a wonderfully satisfactory free idea."


BRAD MEHLDAU, "Art of the Trio 4, Back at the Vanguard" (WB)
Today's preferred piano hero. What's really special about Mehldau is his stance bridging the intellectual and the physical, the past and the present; his mix of playfulness and dedication and the baroque with the Broadway song form. Few others have celebrated this wide sweep of territory so effortlessly.


Mike Zwerin has been jazz and rock critic for the International Herald Tribune for the last twenty years. He was also the European correspondent for The Village Voice. Mike Zwerin is the author of several books on jazz and the jazz editor of Culturekiosque.com.

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