RECORDS

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The Independent Culture
Randy Newman: Bad Love (Dreamworks) Following a decade of Oscar-nominated film soundtracks, Randy Newman's first "personal" album since 1988 is delectably vintage stuff. There's a glorious breadth and depth both to the music and to the satire as Newman dissects everything from 16th-century European explorers to "froggish men, unpleasant to see" who have procured beautiful young wives. He even has a lunge at rock has-beens ("Each record that I'm making/ Is like a record that I've made/ Just not as good"), a brave move for a 54-year-old. As ever, Newman's trick is to compose vaudeville tunes as cuddlesome as those he wrote for Toy Story, and then to populate them with repugnant characters so believable that it's hard work to remind yourself that they really are just characters and that Newman can be Buzz Lightyear when he wants, too. Bad Love is just as good as any record he's made.

Jazz

PHIL JOHNSON

Quadraphonic: Quadraphonic (HCACD1)

Stunning debut by a new saxophone quartet who mix brilliant original compositions with unusually spirited jazz improvisations. The group comprises Mark Allaway, Horace Cardew (the son of the late composer Cornelius Cardew), Luke Annesley and Paul Nathaniel, occasionally beefed up by guests on violin, guitar, piano and percussion. Their album is so new it doesn't appear to have a name for the label, let alone a distributor (although it will be available via Impetus from mid-July), so you may have to attend the launch at The Spitz (109 Commercial Street, E1, Wed, 9pm) to get a copy.

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