Ockeghem: Masses `Au Travail Suis' & `De Plus En Plus'. Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips (Gimell, CD only). The 500th anniversary of the death of Johannes Ockeghem is in February; though if anyone notices it amongst the anniversary celebrations for Schubert and Brahms that get under way at around the same time, I'll eat my metronome. Mid-15th-century Flemish polyphonists of modest output don't excite that much interest outside academia. But Ockeghem's small, exquisite oeuvre is original enough to rank him among the most fascinating creative minds of his time; and this recording of two lesser-known masses with the popular songs on which they're based is a timely introduction to his con- voluted brilliance. Beautifully sung, finely balanced, captured in a resonant but clean acoustic, this is a cappella choral singing at its best, and an entirely recommendable addition to the Renaissance treasure-trove already amassed by Peter Phillips. Michael White
Nate Dogg: G-Funk Classics, Vol 1 (MCA, CD/LP/tape). Ever since his nicely judged vocal contribution elevated Warren G's "Regulate" to the estate of global monsterhood, the album debut of serenader Nate Dogg has been awaited with keen interest. But this sumptuous coagulation of inflatable beats and honeyed vocal lines surpasses all expectation. Along with the world-conquering Fugees and the stunningly intricate Bone Thugs & Harmony, Nate Dogg seems to be leading the way to a new R'n'B era of unabashed musicality. On the beguilingly old-fashioned "Scared of Love" and the irresistible-despite-being-Snoop-Doggy-Dogg-accompanied "Never Leave Me Alone", he proclaims the age of the virtual barber-shop. Ben Thompson
Betty Carter: I'm Yours, You're Mine (Verve, CD only). It's difficult to imagine that at 66, and after a career of continual brilliance, the vocalist supreme could actually get any better, but here's the evidence. On a swoonable set of ballads, Carter sings less but makes it mean more, her sighing, dying fall of a voice (now deepened almost to tenor-sax register) flutters around the melodies briefly before leaving the superb band to get on with it. The title track in particular - a wordless scat over a pattern that sounds derived from Bach - is extraordinarily moving.