Music: Sweet Airs

Sounds of early jazz

It should be no surprise that Ry Cooder has come out with one of the year's best records. His easygoing but absolute guitar virtuosity, his witty, always respectful musical curiosity, has established him as a maverick who has set up shop somewhere along the border of pop and folk. No mainstreams for Cooder. He is forever taking off on side trips, turning down dusty country paths to retrieve some old bit of blues or roadhouse folk, sailing off to Hawaii and plucking some sweet melody straight out of the shade....

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