July 29, 2008

Rock Singer Cooper Resuscitates His Favorite Psycho

By Gary Budzak, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Jul. 29--'Along Came a Spider' Alice Cooper

Longtime Cooper fans will recognize "Steven," the psycho who had a thing for necrophilia, violence and spiders on Cooper's classic concept album Welcome to My Nightmare (1975).

Steven has popped up on subsequent albums and slithers back in a big way on Cooper's latest, Along Came a Spider.

Though lacking the musical sophistication of Welcome to My Nightmare or any song on a par with rock staples such as Schoo l 's Out or Poison, the more brutal hard rock of Along Came a Spider contains enough hooks to please the faithful.

At 60, Cooper still has a sneering delivery. Guest guitarist Slash enlivens the catchy Vengeance Is Mine to such a degree that the track sounds like an outtake from Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction.

-- Howard Cohen

McClatchy Newspapers

'Earfood' Roy Hargrove Quintet

One of the best trumpeters in jazz, two-time Grammy winner Hargrove has worked with a range of musicians, including hip-hop artists and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

On Earfood, the Hargrove Quintet -- Danton Boller (bass), Gerald Clayton (piano), Montez Coleman (drums) and Justin Robinson (alto sax, flute) -- performs studio versions of songs that the band plays on tour, along with a few originals.

The result is stylishly sassy, subtly sophisticated and spiritedly sublime.

Some of the best are Cedar Walton's I'm Not So Sure; Hargrove's Strasbourg/St. Denis; Mr. Clean, a tune once played by his trumpet hero, Freddie Hubbard; and the live finale, Sam Cooke's Bring It on Home to Me. Hargrove, on trumpet and fluegelhorn, blows a mix of ballads and moderate-

tempo numbers steeped in the jazz tradition.

-- Gary Budzak

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