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New or recent albums

New or recent albums

FYAH

Theon Cross

The busy rhythms established by the drummer Moses Boyd justify the references on Cross’ Bandcamp page to “modern grime and trap” as surely as the tightly coiled honking of the saxophonists Nubya Garcia and Wayne Francis justify the references to “stretching and re-shaping the boundaries” of jazz. But what’s really doing the stretching and reshaping is Cross’ tuba. Usurping the role normally assigned to the bass, it fattens the music’s bottom with meaningful oompahs and blats. On the skittering “Candace of Meroe,” it beggars description.

Take Cover

Hot 8 Brass Band

One can learn a lot (and have a lot of fun doing so) about the indomitability of spirit that’s unique to New Orleanians from this high-spirited, just-in-time-for-Mardi-Gras EP. Call it the refusal to let tragedy have the final word. Frankly, it’s hard to say which is more audacious: unleashing brass-and-chant versions of three Michael Jackson songs on the eve of Leaving Neverland or exploring the latent marching-band potential of Joy Division’s dirge-pop classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

The Scope

Manu Katché

The dues that Katché paid drumming for other artists yield their biggest dividends to date. Never quite jazz, never quite funk, never quite art-rock or even pop, the songs evince genre fermentation at a remarkably high and enjoyable level of refinement. Not that nothing stands out. There’s the reggae into which “Vice” shifts during its coda. And Alexandre Tassel’s elegant flugelhorn evokes nighttimes of the rich and famous. Whether Katché qualifies as either is beside the point. The dreamy Jonatha Brooke–sung “Let Love Rule” is not.

Nova

Steve Reid Featuring the Legendary Master Brotherhood

Recorded and initially released in 1976, five years after the jazz drummer Steve Reid’s release from jail (for conscientiously objecting to the Vietnam War), this five-cut, 31-minute document of Reid’s response to the possibilities latent in On the Corner–era Miles Davis (among other catalysts) still sounds edgily alive. It also sounds spacious, thanks as much to the mix’s stereo separation as to the nimble intensity of the Brotherhood’s playing. Yes, playing. How else to characterize Les Walker’s searing, organ-driven games of hide-and-seek?

Jason Kempin/Getty Images for One Kid One World

James Ingram (Jason Kempin/Getty Images for One Kid One World)

ENCORE

James Ingram died on Jan. 29 at age 66, a victim of Parkinson’s and early-onset Alzheimer’s. So pervasive was his lustrous voice on pop, R&B, and adult-contemporary radio from 1981 to 1990 that it was easy to take him for granted as he went about racking up eight Top 40 hits and winning two of the 14 Grammys for which he was nominated. And although he specialized in duets, his sole No. 1, “I Don’t Have the Heart,” was a solo job.

He released his final album, Stand (In the Light), in 2008. A mostly gospel affair, he promoted it on The 700 Club, discussing not only his Christian faith but also the Biblical underpinnings of his 1983 hit “Yah Mo Be There.” Stand didn’t sell, but it should’ve. Like everything else Ingram recorded, it blended class and sincerity so consistently that it was impossible to tell—and pointless to wonder—where one ended and the other began. —A.O.