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CRAWPORDSEEGER,and on back through CLAMSCHUMANN and various f k d e Bachs to MOTHERHIWEGARDE.

If we are, as artists as dissimilar as ANTHONYBRAXTON, KARLHEINzSTOCKHAUSENand the painter CECILCOLLINSall insist, poised on the cusp of a new millennium, then its first vibrations will be audible in the new composition. ELLIOTKCARTER:STRINGQUARTETNO4 Arditti String Quartet (E-4 SowGUBAIDULINA:OPFERTORIUMGidOn Kmner, Boston Symphony O r r h t r a (DentscbeGrammophon) ARVO PART:PASSIOD~MININOSTRIJESUCHRISTISECUNDUM J O A N N EMHilli a i d Ensemble (ECM) -

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him out as its central and dominant musical figure. Whether bringing MIW and ARJXHAback to life, acting as LUTHER'S foil, grounding DAVIDSANBORN'Spopular Crawfordisms, goading GROVBRWASHINGTONinto occasional excellence, making a silk purse out of BOBJAMB'ruminations or putting the heart into DAVEGRUSIN'Spost-modern chamber music, Mr Miller has shown an unflagging and apparently intuitive capacity for continuing to do the right thing. If such comparisons mean anything at all, he is the Monk for our times. Let's hope that the precious flame of his gifts doesn't burn out before the superior authenticity of real instruments playing a real groove comes into fashion once again.

ELECTRICOum ~ J o h nScofield (Gramvision) ~ o e o . 1Kazumi W a k a ~ b e(Gramavi~ion) WHYNOT?MicbCI Camilo (ElutricBird)

- T H E D E C A-D E that kicked off so promisingly with records like TOM BROWNB'S"Funkin' For Jamaica" and new DAVIDSANBORN'SVoyeur has wiinessed fusionthk steady movement of rhythm and jazz from the centre to the margins of AfroAmerican creative sensibility. The hip Hip Hop jazz experiments of Herbie Hancock and David Spradley were not sustained and rather than attempt to reconstruct contemporary dance jazz in by P& G i l y their own image, two generations of rapsters went to the back catalogues of the fusion underground for their breakbeats.

The futuristic and fiithfll policy of Atlantic Jazzamong the m'ajom cannot mask. the fact that verifiable Jazz-Funk h a become the exclusive property of small, indepepdent labels C+amavision, Intima, Optimism, Hewlfirst and GRP. New' &mof fuzak that transcend the penthouse/roadhouse opposition in the name of radicrplayable, New Age ambience have, iff turn, come to dominate the output of these labels. Pbr the koment at least, the polar choice between tepidity and techno-bombast does not dominate the genre as a whole. But these styles have contributed to an ocean of mediocrity in which$lands 'ofclassy, improvised dance music are increasingly few and h between.

On the threshold of a new decade, an awful lot seems to be riding on the broad shoulders of Mmcus MILLER,BBRNARD WRIGHT,BOBBYBROOM,()MAR HAKIM,VIC BAILBY,JEAN PAULBOURBLLY,Tnm EUBANKSBROTHERSand the rest of New York's omni-competent rhythm and jazz players. Their d o n s to innovate and modernise without betraying the ancient skills of black music have sustained a unique expressive tradition which is everywhere under siege. The 80s belongs to all of them. But above all, i t belongs to Marcus Miller, whose conspicuous skiU as.a player, writer, producer and tbinker mark

S E E N F R o M under, from a round Up world going under, the decade behaved exactly as we expected it to: the collapse the of faith in signs, everywhere rubble,

no place left to go but down. On the i surface all energy was absorbed in the b

S U S P ~ ~ Sentropic maintenance of appearances; 1

only those on a downward spiral amassed any momentum. These few, each occupying, and often preoccupied with, their own hole, with no appearances to by B I ~ Kopf keep up, the rejected, the abjected, the

ABJECTS, set themselves beyond venal and b i b l i d prohibitions. Here, they were forced to i n v ~M 1 their own musical languages if they were to sing out ftom the ' very depths of their being.

Sometimes, as with B ~ H O L E SURFERS,COILand CLINT RUINakr F o m s etc, the search for expression coincided with the rise of computer sampler technology, which, when libcer- 1

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ated ftbm the novelty hungry strictures of the forced entertain- .> ment industry, was a perfect tool for coining the new noises i necessary to realising reverberatingly sexual musics that leave listeners ravished and fit for nothing. Through the same decadC SONICYOUTHdid i t too, but with heavily resonating and rapidly overloading guitar harmonies, Some did it with words alone -cf LYDIALUNCH'Sbrute breaching of pieties and male improprieties - and others did i t with sharply honed sentences dovetailed with musics as sparingly evocative as Beckett in their creation of universes dimly lit by great gloomy stars (SWANS,!Smm WALKER'SClimate Of Hunter).

But as the decade progressed, the more i t was blighted by a disease threatening to inhibit the carnal pleasures of carnival. DIAMANDAGALASwas the one artist in any field to develop a

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