RECORDS / New releases

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The Independent Culture
Abdullah Ibrahim: Knysna Blue (Enja-Tiptoe, CD). Recorded in Cape Town, with Ibrahim playing everything - including some wonderful soprano saxophone - this is the fruit of his return to South Africa from 30 years in exile, with music and lyrics focused on both the celebration, and the sadness and sense of loss, that the homecoming has engendered. As such it's a major work and one fans will treasure, particularly for the frequency with which the famous Ibrahim singing voice is heard. This noble sound, half-whisper, half-croak, was one of the most moving and accusing sounds of the anti-apartheid movement. It's heard on the haunting title-track (on which the occasional karaoke-like textures of the electronic percussion take some getting used to), a kind of talking blues, and on the beautiful and corny 'Cape Town', which must surely serve as that city's theme tune. Phil Johnson

Various artists: So Blue, So Funky - Heroes of the Hammond Vol 2 (Blue Note, CD). How much more we can take of the beast in a box is open to question but this set at least emphasises the broad range of the mighty Hammond organ, from the usual fat licks of soul-jazz maestros Jimmy Smith, Johnny Lytle and Big John Patton to the more thoughtful approach of the brilliant Larry Young. For curio-seekers only, there's a monumentally bugging version of 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' by George Braith, with the leader soloing, Roland Kirk-style, on tenor sax and stritch. PJ



Lully: Phaeton. Les Musiciens du Louvre / Minkowski (Erato, CD). World premiere recording of one of the great Versailles spectacles, with which Lully forged the form of 17th-century French opera. Michael White

Bach: Cello Suites. Mischa Maisky (DG, two CDs). Distinguished 1985 recordings, resonant and thoughtful. MW

Van Morrison: A Night in San Francisco (Polydor, double CD/tape). Almost two-and-a-half hours of the Man playing every song in every style. Nicholas Barber

Rolf Harris: Didgereely-Doo All That (Epic, CD). The Greatest Living Australian's greatest hits. You may mock, but 'Stairway to Heaven' on wobble board and didgeridoo is the party track of the year. NB

Vangelis: Blade Runner (East West, CD). Press 'play' and prepare to enter a bygone future . . . Ambient house long before its time, and a marvellous memento of the film. PJ