six of the best buys this weekend

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The Independent Culture


1.Various Artists: The Rebirth of Cool Phive: Subterranean Abstract Blues (4th & Broadway BRCD 617) Trip hop 'til you drop.

2.Terence Blanchard: Romantic Defiance (Columbia 4804892) Elegant, measured contemporary small-group jazz.

3. John Martyn: Live at the Shaw Theatre (Permanent PERM33) Grouchy, measured rock with feel.

4. Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet (Island 523446-2) Definitive rap hop manifesto.

5.Gorky's Zygotic Mynci: Bwyd Time (Ankst CD 059) Welsh pop whimsy.

6.Outside: The Rough and the Smooth (Dorado DOR 043) Jungle, swing, dub and jazz in groove-tastic love-tangle. Suck it and see.


1. Speed (15; Fox; rental) A bus. A bomb. A psychopath.

2. Take That Live at G-Mex (BMG; pounds 10.99) Those buns. Those biceps. And a wee tear in the eye - this is Robbie's epitaph. We'll miss you, lad.

3. Pet Shop Boys: Discovery (PMI; 15; pounds 10.99) The coolest popsters in the world commit their criminally filthy live show to video.

4. Last Tango in Paris (18; Warner Elite; pounds 10.99) Bertolucci's elegant, moving drama was branded too subtle by censors. But less is more.

5. La Reine Margot (18; Fox-Guild; rental / retail pounds 15.99) Batty 16th- century epic with Isabelle Adjani.

6. Threesome (18; Columbia; rental). Effervescent comedy-drama about three college-kids.


1. Angus Wilson by Margaret Drabble. (Secker & Warburg, pounds 20) A welcome portrait from the clear-eyed critic.

2. Selected Letters of Berlioz (Faber pounds 25) An entrancing collection.

3. Between Friends: The Letters of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy

(Secker and Warburg, pounds 25) One of the century's great literary friendships.

4. The Diaries of Sylvia Townsend Warner (Chatto & Windus, pounds 25) Asperity, warmth and sheer bloody-mindedness.

5. Aristocrats: Stella Tillyard (Vintage, pounds 8.99) An engrossing mix of biography and social history.

6. Michael Redgrave, My Father (RCB, pounds 17.99) Corin Redgrave's absorbing biography is eloquent, if oddly reticent.


1. Colin Matthews: Misc Works

(DG) Dizzying energy, magnificent playing. Knussen conducts.

2. BBC Proms Centenary (IMP Masters) Terrific live performances of Boult's Elgar 1, Barbirolli's Rosenkavalier suite and much more.

3. Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1

(Philips) Mercurial playing from Martha Argerich. An essential disc.

4. Don Giovanni (Archiv) Another John Eliot Gardiner winner.

5. Handel Arias (Forlane) Ann Murray brings passion to a repertoire she has made her own.

6. The Vagabond (Deutsche Gramaphon) A hugely successful attempt by Bryn Terfel to restore Vaughan Williams et al to a central place on the concert platform.