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Fast reviews of recent releases

Sound Bites Buju Banton, Too Bad (Gargamel Music). Whoever said that reggaeton replaced reggae dancehall needs to lend an ear to Buju's latest. On tracks like "Try Offa Yuh" and "Go Slow," Banton brings classic ragamuffin stylings. Although he falls off a bit on "Me & Oonu" by sampling Bob Berryhill's "Wipeout," this isn't one to be missed. -- Quibian Salazar-Moreno

Ray Charles and the Count Basie Orchestra, Ray Sings, Basie Swings (Concord Records/Hear Music). Initially, Ray Sings, Basie Swings exuded a sepulchral whiff of exploitation; obviously, Ray and the Count didn't co-sign this posthumous collaboration. Nonetheless, it works. But be careful: For every honorable effort along these lines, there's a like spectacle of Kenny G dry-humping Louis Armstrong. -- Tom Taylor

Def Leppard, Hysteria Deluxe Edition (Island). Why should you care about this deluxe release? Easy. The two-disc set contains five B-sides that are far from filler, including a live version of "Women" recorded here in Denver and a live medley of "Rock of Ages" "Not Fade Away" "My Generation" "Radar Love" "Come Together" and "Whole Lotta Love" that would turn any jam band tie-dyed with envy. -- Brandon Daviet

Diddy, Press Play (Bad Boy Records). There are some noteworthy guests on Press Play, including Kanye West, Nas and Christina Aguilera. But even though most of the backing tracks are strong, there are two big problems: Mr. Combs is a crappy rapper, and he has nothing interesting to say. Besides, the Sean John cologne sample included with the disc reeks. Call it P.U. Diddy. -- Roberts

Keith Jarrett, The Carnegie Hall Concert (ECM). The best soloists reach a point, usually decades into their career, when they become virtually indistinguishable from the music they produce; any lingering self-consciousness vanishes, leaving behind only pure, essential creativity. On the two-disc Carnegie Hall, pianist Jarrett accomplishes this rare feat with so little muss and fuss that it makes his achievement seem all the more impressive. -- Roberts

John Patitucci, Line by Line (Concord Music). Texture is the compositional device most misunderstood by jazz composers, but Patitucci gets it. His ensemble revels in the transparency of a contrapuntal approach that would baffle most jazz practitioners. These masters show the way forward, with affectionate nods to jazz's New Orleans roots, bop unisons and contemporary classical linearity. -- Taylor

 
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