JAZZ: ALBUM REVIEWS

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Des'ree: Supernatural (S2)

Six years on from "You Gotta Be" and "Feel So High", her first album since 1994 finds Des'ree as gorgeously earthy and organic as she used to be, if not quite as fascinating. She's sunnily exuberant on songs like "Life", but she actually hits the mark more on "I'm Missing You", where her voice reverberates with gospel power against a stark piano backdrop. HH

Neil Finn: Try Whistling This (Parlophone)

Neil Finn is still Mr "Crowded House" - with a few grey hairs. Investing the music with a pop flair to slay all comers was a guiding principle in his previous band, but Neil seems to be struggling here between brow- furrowing earnestness and sweeter territory ("She Will Have Her Way"). The melodic articulacy is still here - but is on the retreat at times. HH

Bebe Winans: In Harm's Way (Atlantic)

When he put the male oomph, words and production into Eternal's smash, "I Wanna Be the Only One", most Brits didn't know Detroit's Grammy Award winner Bebe had already produced Bobby Brown and Gladys Knight. He represents R&B of the old school ("Love is the Reason"), and the voice is very seductive. Bottom line, though, he's a Christian soulster who broke away from the Sunday morning gospel shenanigans - and whether you relate to that will determine whether you buy this. HH

His Name is Alive: Fort Lake (4AD)

HNIA's fifth album for 4AD is a curiosity because so many elements are at odds. "No Hiding Place" has a jagged, male-orientated guitar attack, but the vocals are highly feminine soul. "Red Haired Girl" is hot-foot rockabilly but is followed by melancholic electronica, "Secret Code". If the music is not at war with itself, it's certainly enjoying a good few battles. H

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