Record Report (#4): August 24, 2006

The Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet: Hey, Look Me Over (Arbors): Cohn is Al's son, so you might figure this for a tribute. Indeed, Dad's songbook looms large, but this is a well-rounded Allen showcase, There are nods to Stan Getz and Ben Webster, but both the lift of his jump shot and the ease of his balladry are distinctly his own. The son's guitar sets an unobtrusive groove, and the Charlie Christian feature shows Cohn to be as comfortable in old clothes as Allen. A- [jazz]

Charles Lloyd: Sangam (ECM): The tenor saxophonist has lasted long enough that his Coltrane-isms, formed when Trane was still alive, might just as well be deemed his own inventions. He's settled into his own groove so staunchly that he can dabble in world music without sounding like anyone else. He started down this path a few years ago with a delightful set of home-recorded Billy Higgins duets called Which Way Is East (ECM). Here he hires some pros -- table master Zakir Hussain and trap drummer Eric Harland -- and delivers an album that is both in the world and far out. A- [jazz]

Cheikh Lô: Lamp Fall (World Circuit/Nonesuch): Originally from Burkina Faso, Lô is a one-man melting pot of West African influences from Mali to Senegal, plus some stray bits from Cuba and Brasil. All that gives him a sound that is cosmopolitan but sometimes generic. B+ [world]

The Rough Guide to Bhangra Dance (1998-2005, World Music Network): DJ Ritu compiles a progress report, six years after The Rough Guide to Banghra introduced us to Indian-England's vibrant dance music. The beats are harder this time, more electro, as a new generation of artists emerged -- only Malkit Singh repeats from the previous volume, and Ritu doesn't try to sneak any ringers past. A- [world, dance]

Run the Road Volume 2 (Vice): Grime, garage, or whatever the vogue is these days in Anglo-hip-hop, this is it. Unlike Volume 1, this one has no names I recognize, but no doubt someone here will emerge as the next Lady Sovereign or Dizzee Rascal. B+ [rap, dance]

Darrell Scott: The Invisible Man (Full Light): Not sure what kind of country singer regrets never having read War and Peace, but he's one, trying to make amends with good intentions and gospel invocations: "I only wanted to be half crazy and to be half happy and to call it a life." That's a pretty good formula for half an album, too. B [country]

Wayne Scott: This Weary Way (Full Light): First album by 71-year-old country patriarch, whose son Darrell pulled these sessions together, full of songs about whiskey, women, and Jesus. Scott has a voice that sounds well lived in, as old and stately as the hills, which is why he's able to deliver the most convincing "Crash on the Highway" since Roy Acuff made it a classic, back when Scott was a sprout. A- [country]

The Streets: The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living (Vice/Atlantic): On his debut, 2002's Original Pirate Material, Mike Skinner's everyday blokedom gave him a world nobody notices who doesn't live there, and the freedom to be clever. On his third album, he dissects his newfound fame with the same cunning and curiosity, a far cry from the ego success so often inflates. The loopy melodies still strike me as awkward but they kick in at some level even when they leave you wondering. The thick English accents this as of its own unique place, but he's smart enough he gets you to care anyway. A- [rap]