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Tha Truth
Makin' Moves ... Everyday

As co-executive producer of Tha Truth's debut album, Erick Sermon has struck what could be gold. Makin' Moves ... Everyday flaunts everything from sultry R&B to jump-up jams. These women can sing like sweet dreams. They are also fond of hip-hop, and the strongest cuts find the Houston trio collaborating with some of the genre's sharpest practitioners. Riding aloft a cushy keyboard riff, "Makin' Moves" begins with a Keith Murray rap followed by some gold-dusted harmonies; on "Everyday," Redman breaks off some tight verses. Though Tha Truth doesn't do much writing, the group-penned "If I Show U" and "How We Roll" are excellent. (Nicky Baxter)

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South Bay music does diversify. Early bands such as Frontier Wives, Dot 3 and Diesel Queens struck chords for inhumanity. Then for a while, Shovelhead and Audio Fungus converted the populace with melodic grunge, while the Spit Muffins and Slip made punks proud. The current styles are rap-rock (Salmon), pop-punk (Soda, Smashmouth) and acoustic-based (Squeeze the Dog and Pike). Pike combines musicianship with keening pop and funky bass ("Dust and Sea," "Amy"); on these numbers from Spoon, the guitars gush and the vocals dance prettily with maracas shaking in the background. Unfortunately, "Untitled," "Elijah" and "Watershed" are as earnest and inoffensive as songs by DC Talk or Dan Fogelberg. I'm still waiting for one of these acoustic-based balladeers to blow me away instead of lulling me asleep. (Todd S. Inoue)

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Dmitri Matheny

Surrounding himself with players comfortable with the cool-jazz idiom, flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny is as unhurried as a full moon rising. On his new album, in addition to his own songs, Matheny assays tunes composed by hot bopper Lee Morgan and rocker Neil Young. Penumbra is a thematic set obsessed with moon-age daydreams. Tom Harrell's "Moon Alley," the traditional Chinese composition "Autumn Moon" and Young's "Harvest Moon" all glow with Matheny's imaginative arrangements. On "Desert Moonlight," the saxophone is employed to fine effect as a foil for Matheny's own taciturn flugelhorn. "Moonlight in Vermont" boasts some slippery bass, Jim Hall­like guitar and more saxophone warbling. With veteran jazz producer Orrin Keepnews at the boards, it is no surprise that the production values are crystalline; even on tape you can discern every sweep of the drummer's brush, every "step" the bass takes on its myriad "walks" as it escorts a tune to its conclusion. (NB)

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From the June 19-25, 1997 issue of Metro.

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