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Short Takes
"WHAT'D I SAY": THE ATLANTIC STORY--50 YEARS OF MUSIC By Ahmet Ertegun We could use up all the space here (and in the rest of this issue) simply listing the musicians--black and white, jazz and R. and B., rock and beyond--whom Ertegun discovered and set free as prime mover of Atlantic Records. Just as impressive is the tale of a son of the Turkish ambassador to the U.S. who fell in love with black music and co-founded a label that helped Ray Charles, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin redefine American pop. The terrific photos in this handsome, 8-lb. tome induce a vivid synesthesia: looking at Ertegun's artists, you can hear, on the jukebox of your memory, the raw, transcendent music they created.

THE DEEP END Directed by SCOTT MCGEHEE AND DAVID SIEGEL Finally, a nifty twist: a blackmailer (Goran Visnjic, the hottie from ER) falls in love with his victim (Tilda Swinton). Actually, the idea is so old it's new: this is a remake of Max Ophuls' The Reckless Moment (1949). She's trying to protect her son from a predatory lover who is accidentally killed; he's an agent of evil too soulful for his own good. Their gripping story is told with sober conviction in this elegantly made, romantically doomy, curiously affecting movie.

GORILLAZ Gorillaz This all-star brainchild of Damon Albarn from Blur; Dan (the Automator) Nakamura; Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz from Tom Tom Club; and Tank Girl animator Jamie Hewlett is technically a concept album: the CD plays a cartoon on your computer. Well, forget the 'toon and listen to the tunes, for this is the most imaginative pop record of the year. Nakamura's beats are wonderfully atmospheric and danceable; Del Tha Funky Homosapien's playful rhymes are the perfect foil to Albarn's ennui-filled vocals, and Weymouth's giant bass whomps away throughout.

HOLIDAY Bob Brookmeyer A star on valve trombone ever since his glory days with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, Brookmeyer also plays piano on the side--and it's more than just a hobby. On Holiday, his first all-piano album since 1959, he serves up five standards, six strong originals and a blues, performed in a blunt, bracing style full of sharp corners and spicy chords and often startlingly reminiscent of his no-nonsense horn playing. What took him so long? You don't need to be a full-time pianist to revel in the part-time playing of this switch-hitting jazz master.

GOING TO CALIFORNIA Showtime, Thursdays, 10 p.m. E.T. From Scott Rosenberg, the writer of the film Beautiful Girls, comes a similarly chatty male-bonding story (with the Sweet Caroline sing-along replaced by Journey's Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'). Two New England buddies (Sam Trammell and Brad Henke) take a cross-country road trip to find a missing pal and America. America, it turns out, is just one annoyingly quirky guest character after another, spouting overwritten dialogue. Nicely shot, thick with self-conscious, Y-chromosomal musings about the mysteries of life and women, Going to California has the stuff of a smart beer commercial. But as a series, it's a long and windy road.

August 13, 2001 Vol. 158 No. 6

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