RECORDS

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JAZZ

The John Coltrane Quartet: Plays Chim-Chim Cheree; Coltrane (both Impulse, CD and LP). In case you ever doubted that "Chim-Chim Cheree" from Mary Poppins could aspire to the heights of Afro-centric spirituality, this re-release of Coltrane's wonderful version from 1965 proves that the art of the jazz standard never rested entirely on the virtues of the original tune. This classic quartet (with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones) also re-invents "Nature Boy" in three quite different versions, while Coltrane sees off "Inch Worm" in similar style. This impeccably dressed series of reissues from the Impulse vaults continues to document the jazz revolution of the Sixties in what amounts to one of the century's most praiseworthy musical endeavours Phil Johnson

CLASSICAL

Stravinsky & Mussorgsky: Duos for Classical Accordions. James Crabb & Geir Draugsvoll (EMI, CD). This would be the classical equivalent of a Christmas novelty release but for the fact that it's in deadly earnest: an astonishing display of virtuoso musicality, which is something I'd never associated with the accordion ("Sounds like a pig with a sore throat," said Edvard Grieg) until I first heard James Crabb a few years ago and was knocked sideways by the sheer sophistication of what he could do with a squeeze-box. He and his Danish partner Draugsvoll are responsible for the transcriptions on this disc - which are bizarre, unsettling but still somehow true to the originals. Stravinsky's Petrushka Suite is already familiar in a two-piano version, and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is in permanent open season for exotic arrangements. So the ground was half-prepared. All Crabb and Draugsvoll do is dig a little deeper with bravado and imagination. The surprise is that the result is so un-camp, so formidably straight-laced and clean. And therein lies its power. There are the makings of a cult hit somewhere here. Michael White

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