JAZZ Live in Sevilla 2000: Masada (Tzadik). John Zorn’s lengthening attention span and Hasidic tilt are making his music richer than ever. He and his avant-garde jazz ensemble seethe with energy and new ideas in this recent concert. —Keith Goetzman
INDIAN Out of Stillness: Gopal Shankar Misra (Real World).
The late son of Ravi Shankar left us with this mesmerizing
recording of the sitar-like vichitra veena. —K.G.
COUNTRY The Captain: Kasey Chambers (Asylum/Warner). This
Australian upstart appears to be a genetically engineered cross
between the Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain, singing soaring
country-turned-pop in a sweet, sweet voice. —K.G.
FOLK-ROCK White Ladder: David Gray (RCA). Singer-songwriters
may be out of fashion, but Gray transcends the trend with his
haunting voice, emotion-drenched songs, and a nod to his spiritual
predecessor, Van Morrison. —K.G.
TEX-MEX The Soulful Women Duets of South Texas (Arhoolie).
In mid-century recordings so obscure that some of the singers are
unknown, Latinas in matching dresses dole out aphorisms, scoldings,
and love ballads in buoyant, accordion-backed harmony. —K.G.
FOLK La Terre Commune: Elliot Murphy and Ian Matthews
(Eminent). Two veteran folkies meet for a weeklong session and hit
it off spectacularly, getting inside each other’s songs and
tackling several keen covers, from Springsteen to Brecht/Weill.
HONKY TONK Delbert McClinton: Nothing Personal (New West)
The long-reigning king of honky-tonk music defends his crown with a
choice blend of boogie blues, roots rock, country laments, and
Tex-Mex—all soulfully sung. —Jay Walljasper
SCANDINAVIAN Gjallarhorn: Sjofn (NorthSide) Finnish folkies
add modern eclectricity to the rich sounds and pagan sensibilities
of their homeland, treating us to a melodic mystical tour. —J.W.