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January 22, 1996 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-22

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3A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 22, 1996

Melissa Etheridge
Your Little Secret
Island Records
"I want to give you a thrill / the kind
you can't buy," croons two-time
Grammy winner Melissa Etheridge on
her long-awaited and current release,
"Your Little Secret."
But after 1993's hit album "Yes I
Am," Etheridge is- anything but a se-
cret. Her throaty delivery, impassioned
lyrics and rock-out, 12-string guitar
playing finally gave Etheridge the tre-
mendous popular and critical acclaim
she sought.
So the pressure was on for Melissa to
deliver another knockout recording.
Etheridge continues to do what comes
naturally: Writing as well as perform-
ing rock numbers and ballads about
desire, like "I Want to Come Over" and
the title track. Together with Hugh
Padgham, Etheridge also co-produced
her 10-song follow-up.
Now that she has known success,
Melissa needs to learn restraint. She
overdoes it on all the tracks of "Your
Little Secret," belting out lyrics left and
right for rather lengthy songs. True,
Etheridge has a wide range, but her
screams take away from tracks like "I
Really Like You" and "An Unusual

Backed by her talented band, gui-
tarist John Shanks, bassist Mark
Browne, regular drummer Dave Beyer
and guest beat keeper Kenny Aronoff,
Etheridge's songs still pack a musical
Her own acoustic, electric and 12-
string strumming drive her works for-
ward. Moderation is needed, though, in
terms of mix, where an excess of treble
drowns out the bass.
Somewhat engaging, but largely dis-
appointing, Melissa's latest effort falls
short, undone by its own excesses. The
only thrill to come from "Your Little

Secret" is the knowledge that Etheridge
can do better.
- Ella de Leon
Larry Goldings
Whatever It Takes
Warner Bros.
Is there another instrument out there
as cool as the Hammond Organ? Is
there another axe that is so versatile,
capable of producing sounds for soulful
lines, aggressive solos, mellow ballads
or gospel songs? Show this critic some-
one who thinks there's a comparable
instrument out there and this critic will
show you someone who's never heard
Larry Goldings play.
After spending the last few years as a
sideman for jazz / funk veterans Maceo
Parker and John Scofield, Goldings has
released his Warner Brothers' debut,
and "Whatever it Takes" is a monster,
deserving of being up there with the
best jazz or instrumental albums of the
Goldings couldn'tdo all ofthis alone,
so he brought along rising jazz star Bill
Stewart on drums and Peter Bernstein
on guitar, as well as a guest list includ-
ing Parker, David Sanborn, Joshua
Redman and Fred Wesley.
Goldings orchestrated the group so
that each player got enough room to let
their personal styles come through in
everything they play; from slow blues
numbers to more upbeat funk to straight
ahead swing. And the songs are ar-
ranged as such so you'll hear a swing
solo by Bernstein on one track, imme-

diately followed by a straight-up funk
improv by Maceo on the very next
Now that he's got his own album,
Goldings has room to solo, something
that Parker and Scofield never gave
him enough room to do. He doesn't
disappoint in any genre that he solos in,
especially in the standard "Willow
Weep for Me," where he rips through
all sorts of blues gestures while holding
down a bass line with his left hand on
the lower register of the organ.
Goldings also demonstrates some
solid piano and clavinet playing
throughout, always choosing the right
instrument for the right moment.
Bernstein and Stewart prove to be more
than just able supporting players -
Bernstein sounds as comfortable solo-
ing and comping in swing as he does in
funk, always creative and solid. Drum-
mer Stewart is becoming one of those
musicians whose playing is instantly
recognizable; his touch and style stand
out quite a bit from other drummers on
the scene.
Not every song is great on "Whatever
it Takes," and some of the funk num-
bers sound a little stuffy, mostly due to
the over-produced sound that affects
too many jazz recordings these days.
But you'd be hard-pressed to find ajazz
album released this year that is more
accessible and generally solid than
"Whatever it Takes." If this is just the
beginning for Larry Goldings, music
listeners everywhere have a great deal
to look forward to.
- David Cook

y Sh
When they're not drinking their Juice in the hood, the Wayans brothers strut.
A n e

By Michael Zilberman
Daily Arts Writer
At the present moment, no other film
genre is as ripe for spoofing as the
current crop ofgrowing-up-in-the-hood
movies. After all, it possesses all the
makings of great parody material -
clearly defined cliches and conventions,
with virtual lack of humor and inherent
preachiness. This genre is, for obvious
reasons, just about the only one that
spoofmeisters such as Zucker,
Abrahams and Brooks wouldn't touch
with a 10-foot pole.
Don't be a
Menace to

Melissa's little secret: no nose!

Consider becoming an Air Force CRNA
through the Armed Forces Health Professions
Scholarship Program. For more information,
contact an Air Force health professions
recruiter near you. Or call
Health Professions

Continued from Page 5A
Hohenfeld. The text was drawn from a
collection of poems by Nobel Prize
winner Pir Lagerkvist.
Though the movement had its loud
moments, a sense of calm prevailed.
Hohenfeld's voice was fluid and clear,
hovering above the orchestra like the
cloud described in the text. Though
the orchestra never really murmured
beneath the singer, it created an ap-
propriate duality to the voice. The
piece faded away like a dream as
Hohenfeld walked through the orches-
tra and off stage - singing all the
way. The stage lights dimmed as the
music, and the picture it had created,

Sir Edward Elgar's "Symphony No.
1" followed intermission. Written near
the turn of the century, the piece tested
the SLSO's dynamic and expressive
abilities. If the SLSO's grandiose style
put in doubt an ability to play with
subtlety and sensitivity, these doubts
were mostly quelled in "Symphony."
The SLSO created tides of color con-
trast and cleared many hurdles of into-
nation in sections of delicate instru-
mentation. The clarinet's single final
note of the second movement was el-
The piece had its share of glorious
moments, though, and the orchestra was
more than happy to oblige. The
orchestra's forte is playing forte.
The St. Louis Symphony's perfor-
mance was the first in 1996's wave of
Hill concerts by touring orchestras.
Several works each of Mahler, Strauss
and Beethoven are on the horizon. Fa-
miliar isn't bad. But unfamiliar is brave
and, in this case, was well worth hear-

South Central


Directed by Paris Barclay
with Shawn Wayans
and Marlon Wayans
At Showcase
I- - - - - --__ ~ ~ -- - -_______-
But someone had to do it.
Enter the Wayans brothers, fresh from
their disastrous stab at episodic TV, with
"Don't Be A Menace to South Central
While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood."
Theirtarget is the entire Black New Wave,
no less, and they make no bones about it:
The movie starts out with a PSA-like
message ("One out of 10 young black
males ...") that promptly dissolves into a
maddeningly pointless gag, and proceeds
"Don't Be A Menace" nominally fol-
lows the misadventures of two friends
(the relatively reserved Ashtray and the
high-strung Loc Dog), but does that kind
of lazily, with numerous asides that even-
tually overshadow the narration.
The jokes in the movie fall into sev-

eral categories - and since there's no
actual plot development to consih
we're stuck discussingindividualjokes.
There's a great deal of inside-biz sneer-
ing( a postal truck emblazoned with the
"Janet Wuz Here" graffiti, in a nod to
"Poetic Justice"). Some of the gags are
pretty elliptical (a prominently dis-
played movie poster that. advertises
"RoboPimp 3"); some are truly inexpli-
cable - for example, Ashtray is older
than his father. Uh-huh.
For the most part, the film crum*
into a heap of party-time humor in
"Friday"'s vein: Grandmother jokes,
masturbationjokes, fatjokes, potjokes,
body-part jokes, proudly offensive
handicap jokes (at one point, the movie
halts for a dance routine that imagines
MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This"
bit as performed by a guy paralyzed
from the waist down). And, of course,
there's that good old Def Comedy Jam
staple, white-guy jokes.
However, "Don't Be A Menace' s
probably the first movie whose authors
are willing to poke fun at the black film-
makers' vision of their community even
more than at the usual pigeonholing of
blackcharactersin Hollywood.Ofcourse,
the Wayans brothers don't exactly bury
the oeuvre of Spike Lee, John Singleton
or those other cinema siblings, Allen and
Albert Hughes (although they do include
a hysterical spoof of the heist seque4
from the very recent "Dead Presidents").
For all its presumed offensiveness,
"Don't Be A Menace" is nearly impos-
sible to get offended by: It's hard to feel
bad about being dissed by a movie that
dismisses everything from Korean im-
migrants to gangsta rap to water cool-
ers. The Wayans brothers are too in-
toxicated by their own irreverence, too
consumed by their no-budget-no-re-
sponsibility attitude, to be - or el
look like - a real menace to anyone.

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