Record Report (#14): November 2, 2006

Lynne Arriale Trio: Live (In+Out/Motema): She's a jazz cat who picks recognizable songs -- "Iko Iko" and "Come Together" from the pop world, "Bemsha Swing" and "Seven Steps to Heaven" from the bop tradition -- and pounces on them, tearing them down and teasing out new melodies. Originals like "Flamenco" and "Braziliana" play the same tricks on whole genres. Her trio has played together for a decade -- the main thing the bonus DVD shows is how often they close their eyes to focus on the sonic signals, but their telepathy is evident in their exceptionally accessible piano jazz. B+ [jazz]

Chuck Berry: The Definitive Collection (1955-72, Geffen/Chronicles): Finally, a single disc that improves on the out-of-print The Great Twenty-Eight, swapping "Bye Bye" for "You Never Can Tell," "Promised Land," and a sing-along "My Ding-a-Ling" -- an even greater thirty. While Elvis was trying to sing black, Berry crossed the other way, finding all the optimism teens in the '50s could muster, with an unmatched knack for turning a phrase, and a backbeat that rolled right over that Beethoven dude. A+ [rock]

Fountains of Wayne: Out-of-State Plates (1996-2005, Virgin, 2CD): Two new pop-rockers -- "The Girl I Can't Forget" is the great one, the single flipside of "Maureen" -- plus a short decade of odds and sods. They almost could have fit it all onto one long disc, but with due respect to contemporary attention spans they give you two short ones instead. I like it better than their studio fare. For one thing, it's more varied, but also their trash is funnier than their cash. A- [rock]

Frank Hewitt: Fresh From the Cooler (1996, Smalls): Hewitt was a bebop pianist who almost slipped through 66 years of life without leaving a trace. But he built a cult during an eight year residency at Smalls jazz club, inspiring a label to no small degree dedicated to his legacy. This makes four posthumous albums, with more on the shelf -- at least one more from this date, a trio with Ari Roland and Jimmy Lovelace. The songs are jazz standards, but there's nothing overly familiar about them -- even "Cherokee" and "Monk's Mood" skirt the melodies for hidden nuances. A- [jazz]

Etta James: The Definitive Collection (1954-2004, Geffen/Chronicles): One of the great blues to soul to jazz singers of the era, she is usually represented by her decade at Chess, which was consistent enough to fill equally superb one, two, and three disc boxes. But this career survey doesn't rest on her peak period. It starts back when she was fifteen, flirting with a Johnny Otis-produced "Dance With Me Henry," and follows her through fifty years, finding her working the Elmore James songbook, a pro who can still get down and dirty. A [blues]

Keith Jarrett: The Carnegie Hall Concert (ECM, 2CD): He'd be the best selling jazz pianist of all time if all he'd recorded was The Köln Concert, with its four million copies. But in four decades he's recorded much, much more. In the '70s he juggled two quartets -- one based in America with Dewey Redman, the other in Europe with Jan Garbarek. In 1983 he formed his Standards Trio and has kept that group working steady ever since. And he's recorded a mountain of solo piano: 24 titles totalling 40 discs. The only thing that makes this one man show any different is the rapturous applause punctuating the flow. B [jazz]

Ulf Wakenius: Notes From the Heart (ACT): Songs by Keith Jarrett, respectfully interpreted by a Swedish guitarist best known for keeping Oscar Peterson company. Lars Danielsson plays some quiet piano as well as his usual bass, and Morten Lund drums. Simple, subtle, delicate -- I've reached for it often lately, finding that it relieves stress and rewards attention. A- [jazz]