Babywoman, Naomi Campbell (Sony)

* Naomi's debut features vocal assistance from famed names like Luther

Vandross, Chrissie Hynde, and David Lasley. She employs the production

abilities and/or songwriting talents of Tim Simenon, PM Dawn, and Youth.

There is bass-playing by Doug Wimbish and choice samples from Maceo and

the Macks. Naomi's famous mates, hymned on the album sleeve, include

Linda Evangelista and Kyle Maclachlan; Johnny Depp; Adam Clayton plus

all his U2 buddies; Azzedine Alaia; Robert de Niro, Rifat Ozbek and

Steven Meisel.

Naomi is famous, too. For being tall. For being partially clad. For

falling over in public. And for being famous. Most of this LP is dully

competent in a sub-Madonna conveyor-belt dance music way, but when Naomi

sings a famous song -- T. Rex's Ride A White Swan -- she does it so

risibly that you can only look at the album cover photo of her sitting

astride a lavatory bowl, shaving her famously long legs, and think:

''How apt. This stinker should be flushed down the pan.'' For what this

cost, every unsigned band in Scotland could have each recorded an album

which would have been 12 times better than Babywoman.

Dog Man Star, Suede (Nude)

* Force an ironing-board down the seat of your trousers and cakewalk

backwards precisely into the future with Brett Anderson to March 17,

1972 . . . the exact midway point between David Bowie's release of Hunky

Dory and Ziggy Stardust. And the exact site of Dog Man Star's musical

excavations. Not a wholly bad place to be, of course. But rock's future?

No. And Suede's lyrics are such a godawful small affair. ''Dog man star

took a suck on a pill/ And stabbed a cerebellum with a curious quill.''

''She-rocker sacked the factory line for a chance of a dance in a

surreal world.'' Whit? Can't you ring some ch-ch-ch-changes, Brett?

Troutmask Replica, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band (Reprise)

* Now on CD, so non-Beefheartians can programme out all the

too-indulgently-weird bits with which the Captain's disciples have

driven them mad during forced listening-sessions over the past quarter

of a century. Not quite a masterpiece, but light years ahead of Suede.

The Great White Wonders: A History of Rock Bootlegs, Clinton Heylin


* Verbose egghead compiles a tome that is more than simply a complete

list of unauthorised live recordings, but rather less than a convincing

socio-political theory. This verdict will, however, be revised should

Clinton know where I can like, score a copy of Joy Division's Shadowplay

. . .

David Belcher

Stranger Than Fiction, John Surman Quartet (ECM); Time Being, Peter

Erskine Trio (ECM)

* About Time Too would have been an equally apt title for Surman's

album, being the first recording by one of the past decade's real

European jazz supergroups (pianist John Taylor, bassist Chris Laurence,

and drummer John Marshall join Surman on soprano and baritone saxophones

plus alto and bass clarinets). Canticle with Response and A Distant

Spring open in dark, brooding fashion. Then comes the majestic Tess,

something of a Surman Greatest Hit with its gorgeous, twisting soprano

saxophone melody, and thereafter it's a masterful procession of grace,

poignancy, and delicately emphatic rhythms. John Taylor also stars,

alongside the brilliant Swedish bassist Palle Danielsson, on former

Weather Report drummer Erskine's album, a model lesson in unhurried

creativity recalling the best trios of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett.

Para Todas, Poncho Sanchez (Concord Picante); In Session, Tito

Puente's Golden Latin Jazz All Stars (Bellaphon)

* Latin jazz of varying quality: the former kicks off in fair enough

form (nice version of Cedar Walton's timeless Ugetsu), but before long

becomes becalmed amid much directionless doodling and too many

water-treading conga solos. The latter, despite my misgivings apropos

''all-star'' bands, sparkles with joi de vivre, authentic musicianship,

and downright good tunes, driven by the leader's infectious clattering


Rob Adams

The Indispensable Duke Ellington, Volumes 7/8: 1941-1942 (Jazz


* Indispensable is right. This doubler features what most experts

consider the Ellington band's greatest incarnation, that which recorded

the definitive Take the A Train, and included such stalwart saxmen as

Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, and Harry Carney. The latter's throaty sound

is spotlighted on Jumpin' Punkins, while Hodges's supremely sweet alto

is especially graceful on Moon Mist and I Got It Bad (and That Ain't


Blowin' the Blues Away, The Paradise City Jazz Band (Jazzology


* As the liner-notes explain, the PCJB are troglodytes who only

emerged from their caves to record this generally excellent collection

of twenties-tinged tunes. Despite having their tongues firmly planted in

their cheeks, the six Paradisians (including the splendid Dave Pinardi

on trumpet and vocals) swing through such obscurities as (I'm Gonna

Skedaddle Back to) Seattle and an uncredited variation on Sweet and

Lovely, called Sweet and Pungent. Not to mention the week's second

version of the eternally funky Jumpin' Punkins.

Alison Kerr