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Arturo Sandoval
Best of Arturo Sandoval

Cuban trumpet ace Arturo Sandoval is as comfortable navigating bebop's complexities as he is creating danceable postfusion fare. This collection emphasizes the latter. One thing is clear: Sandoval is a romantic. He caresses Bernstein and Sondheim's "Maria" as one would a lover. Against a somewhat overwrought orchestral backdrop, Sandoval commences with some impassioned trumpet, spritzing vertically into the instrument's upper register without any perceptible strain before settling into the tune's comely melody. Sandoval's own "Red Moon" is nearly as pretty. A cross between an uptown blues and prerock R&B, "Red Moon" simmers on low with Sandoval extracting every possible nuance without coming off bluer-than-thou. (Nicky Baxter)

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Andre Nickatina
Raven in My Eyes

Andre Nickatina changed his stage name but not his old habits. The former Dre Dog expounds on his sordid history on Raven in My Eyes. "Crack Raider Razor" blends E-40-like inflections to tread familiar gangsta territory, and "Nickatina Creation" and "Gingerbread Crumbs" show Nickatina collecting cash from chaos. I wish Andre used the Fillmore Coleman Band more (they only appear in between song transitions) instead of succumbing to the sequencers and keyboards that buzz and whine. On "Sly Stone," Nickatina reintroduces himself to listeners and passes love to said funk God. I knew there was a warm spot in his heart somewhere. (Todd S. Inoue)

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War Cry

Think back 10 years to the hair-farmer power-rockers for a blazing picture of War Cry. Borderline glam/metal, with searing fast-paced guitars and dark vocals--there's nothing wrong with the band's music. You could say it rocks, but "Devil's Son," "Father of God" and "Hoof and Horn" would keep anyone but Beavis and Butt-head from saying it "rules." War Cry's lyrics are tired, and the band tries too hard to be scary. Danzig and Ozzy Osbourne could get away with lyrics like "Running with the bullet straight from a gun / I am invincible / I am the one"; War Cry might do better to follow the Poison code of metal with sleazy sex songs and rock ballads. Still, War Cry's got talent, and it's encouraging to see that metal bands are still trying. (Sarah Quelland)

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From the January 8-14, 1998 issue of Metro.

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