What our critics are listening to

12:08 PM, Oct 01, 2013

Singer Lyfe Jennings has a new CD. (Getty Images)/


THURSTON MOORE AND JOHN ZORN

@. The opening cut, “6th Floor Walk-Up, Waiting,” is Zorn and Moore’s equivalent of the warning that Dante found posted over the entrance to hell: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” By “ye,” they mean anyone who seeks melody. Moore’s longtime band, Sonic Youth, was never much for rules, and his side projects have an even more-irregular bent. In @, Moore’s meandering electric guitar plays thematic dodgeball with the Albert Ayer-like saxophone skwonks of Zorn, an avant-garde gadfly of the New York City scene. Much of @ sounds like someone hitting the “search” button on his radio as it trolls through programming from another planet. The improvisational pieces rely on feedback and accidents of sound; even the quieter ones offer unexpected turns. Zorn and Moore have been doing this kind of thing for so long, they fall naturally into each other’s rhythms., like two old bluesmen on a porch — JEFF SPEVAK

LYFE JENNINGS

LUCID. Lyfe Jennings’ troubles with the law are well-documented, including the 2008 incident where, after an altercation with an ex-girlfriend, he fired gunshots (not at her) and led police on a car chase. This resulted in a three-and-a-half-year sentence in 2010. He got out early, however, and went back to the one place where he finds success and not drama: the studio. Lucid, due out Oct. 8, continues Jennings’ winning formula for R&B that echoes, well, life. He offers in encouragement in “Winner” as he sings “this is what you’ve been waiting on, all the sacrifices and all the pain, it’s finally paying off.” He advises the fellas to treat their lady like “College” as he sings “I try to get knowledge, learning your girl is a science.” Jennings hasn’t lost his musical touch. Let’s see if he can stay out of trouble. — SHEILA RAYAM

MIKA STOLTZMAN

IF YOU BELIEVE. Steve Gadd — the great drummer and a Rochester favorite son — is incredibly busy these days. Hot on the heels of the release of Gattitude, under his leadership, comes this album. Though the star is marimba player Mika Stoltzman, and she’s a wonderful player, Gadd shows up prominently as producer and as drummer/percussionist on most tracks. The exciting news here for Gadd followers is the prominent presence of Duke Gadd, an excellent drummer who is following in the heels of his famous father. Duke plays on four of the 10 tracks — and he’s obviously got that great Gadd drum gene. A longtime Gadd standby, bassist Eddie Gomez is also on hand. Still, it’s Stoltzman show, as her tasty marimbas lead the way. The music often light and breezy, with just enough exotic rhythms to spice up the proceedings. — JACK GARNER