Various Artists

Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool

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Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool is undoubtedly the most successful incarnation of the Red Hot albums whose proceeds go toward research in fighting the AIDS virus. Unlike fellow albums in this series, which generally reinterpret the work of several classic songwriters (Gershwin, Porter, Jobim, etc.), Red Hot & Cool is a collection of new material which aims musically to directly confront the AIDS epidemic, particularly how it affects the African-American community. With direct issue-oriented lyrics, apt liner notes with commentary by Professor Cornell West, and an assembly of musicians whose work has always bent toward political awareness, this musical explosion is an abridged lexicon of the evolutions in black music during the post-bop era. If forced to categorize this sprawling album, of course, the virtual catch-all "acid jazz" would apply, but this album goes far deeper -- it's a history piece. Jazz masters like Ron Carter, Pharoah Sanders, and Donald Byrd join forces with jazz's new regime, Joshua Redman, Ronny Jordan, etc. The evolution of rap is traversed as the Pharcyde, Guru, Michael Franti, MC Solaar and others trade tracks with the politics of hip-hop progenitors the Last Poets. Unfortunately, the bonus CD that accompanies the album proper takes away from its power. It includes tired reworkings of John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme," by Alice Coltrane and Branford Marsalis, and a botched sampling of tracks from Pharoah Sanders' breakthrough album, Karma. The best advice is to throw out this sidecar upon purchase of the two-disc set.

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