Author

Joseph Woodard

It’s apparent that Amy Grant is still a modern-day MOR queen, from the Bread-like sprinkling of wah-wah guitar on ”I Will Be Your Friend” to the broad anthemic sentiments and well-placed hooks on ”Turn This World Around.” The onetime Christian artist works well in the secular sector by rechanneling her earnest energies. But while the gleam of pop craft gets in the way of personal grit, Grant’s Behind the Eyes is a likable pop polish. B-

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Heard in mini-mall restaurants everywhere, the France-based Gipsy Kings seized acclaim in the last few years with a Gypsy/flamenco hybrid that goes down easy but buzzes with passion and unplugged rusticity. The story continues on this album of simple, romantic tunes, opening with the dance-feverish ”Ami Wa Wa (Solo Por Ti)” and closing with the plaintive ballad ”Amor Gitano.” Listen to it attentively or as sonic decor: Compas works either way. B-

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Etcetera: More must reviews

Etcetera: More must reviews

Natalie Cole and Rickie Lee Jones aren’t the only vocalists finding inspiration on the outskirts of mainstream jazz. With her musky tone, taste for both funk and standards, and feisty way with a phrase, Cassandra Wilson is one of the most distinctive new singers on the block. Live, recorded in Germany with a lean, mean trio, affirms her role as successor to the gently eccentric legacy of her mentor Betty Carter. A-

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