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NEW RELEASES : In Brief

* * Various Artists, “The Usual Suspects,” Sheffield Lab Records. Producer Jeff Weber’s assemblage of pieces from John Beasley, David Benoit and Bill Champlin, among others, has the colorful variety of a spilled jigsaw puzzle, along with some of the chaos. Guitarist Eric Gale, saxophonist Gerald Albright and the dependable rhythm team of Paul Jackson Jr., John Robinson, Nathan East and Mike Fisher give the album its most notable quality--a powerful, spontaneous rhythmic sizzle.

New albums are rated on a scale o one star (poor) to four (excellent). A rating of five stars is reserved for classic reissues or retrospectives.


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