Cole Comfort

The show's guest was Diana Krall, and even her well-known dedication to understatement was affected by the evening's shenanigans. She banished the melancholy from "I Thought About You," making it clear a reconciliation was in the cards, and found something between a murmur and a moan in the back of her throat to convey a newfound sense of nasty on "I'm Walkin'." Krall's expressiveness increases with each season. But bolstered by a fatback whomp, Brown's signature agility ultimately showed her the taillights. Such is the triumph of an instrumentalist gifted enough to make a melody out of just one note. — Jim Macnie


Pulling Their Weight

Holly Cole at Irving Plaza: most convincing as a bad girl
Michael Sofronski
Holly Cole at Irving Plaza: most convincing as a bad girl

Fat Mama is a rapidly improving anomaly amid the groove-band scene. Get past the quintessential bar-band moniker (copped from a Herbie Hancock jam) and you've got an earnest and potentially evangelical Boulder octet that's introducing good, old-fashioned modern jazz— as in horns, charts, changes, free blowing, the works— to the scratchy-sweater crowd, while keeping a third eye on the ecstatic mind-meld sought by the latest generation of dance-club improvisers. Mama's also one of the few bands around comfortable at both Wetlands and the Knitting Factory, which is where it was last Friday, opening for Burlington prep-rappers Belizbeha.

Young enough to look like the fairly recent jazz-lab grads a few of them indeed are and closer to freestyling hinterland improvisers like Schleigho and the Slip than to Medeski Martin & Wood, Fat Mama are the musical children of Phish and Miles— both Denver-based trumpeter-composer Ron and the other one too, natch. The problem for groove-band fans is Fat Mama's emphasis on attack-and-decay mutation. So it doesn't take long for the shiny roar of guitarist Jonathan Goldberger's marvelous "Yid Panther" to dissolve into a dreamy meditation on the word "Chicago" from new turntablist Kevin Kendrick.

Erik Deutsch plays an old-school array of analog keyboards, and his composition "Bloodborne Pathogens" slid in and out of focus with a crafty yesterday-kind-of-tomorrow sound akin to Gil Evans's Svengali-era arrangements. I couldn't tell exactly when Deutsch's tune segued into "The Three Question Marks" (by band pal Joe Lukasic), but you couldn't miss the transition into Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter," rearranged to sound like an Egyptian marching band thinking simultaneously of Frank Zappa's "Eat That Question" and Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water." Massively extravagant when they're not delving into the cosmic abstract, and with a truly great album, Mamatus, they can't afford to repress, Fat Mama is big, sophisticated entertainment on a granola circuit that sometimes doesn't know how good it's got. — Richard Gehr


Real-Life Consumer Guide

The best deals are always the ones you aren't looking for. I've found some of my favorite records crammed in boxes on the floor of the semiannual WFMU record souks, laid out on blankets on 125th Street or Second Avenue, or tied in bundles next to the recycling on the curb. Of course, when you need a particular item to stuff a stocking, you have to pay the piper. In a town awash in unwanted promo copies, those with nimble fingers, no dust allergies, and plenty of time to waste can at least choose the piper. Herewith, the going rates as of Black Friday for some of this year's holiday hotcakes at a few select locations downtown. Prices are the lowest we could find for CDs (in many cases, the same item could be had for different prices at the same location). — Josh Goldfein

ST. MARKS SOUNDS MONDO KIM'S DISC- O- RAMA J&R MUSIC WORLD VIRGIN MEGASTORE
16 & 20 St. Marks Place 6 St. Marks Place 186 & 146 W. 4th St. 23 Park Row 52 E. 14th St.

Bad Boy's Greatest Hits Volume 1

$8.99 $8.99 $6.47 $15.99 $17.99
Beck, Mutations $8.99 $16.99 n/a $11.99 $13.99
Belle & Sebastian, The Boy With the Arab Strap $9.99 $13.99 n/a $13.99 $16.99
Black Star, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star $11.99 $11.99 n/a $13.99 $16.99
James Brown, Say It Live and Loud $9.99 $16.99 n/a $14.99 $17.99
Fatboy Slim, You've Come a Long Way, Baby $8.99 $15.99 $9.99 $11.99 $13.99
PJ Harvey, Is This Desire? $11.99 $9.99 n/a $14.99 $13.99
Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill $12.99 $16.99 $10.99 $13.99 $13.99
Korn, Follow the Leader $9.99 $8.99 $9.99 $14.99 $16.99
Method Man, Tical 2000: Judgement Day $12.99 $16.99 n/a $12.99 $13.99
Alanis Morissette, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie $11.99 n/a $10.99 $12.99 $13.99
Quasi, Featuring "Birds" $11.99 $12.99 n/a $11.99 n/a
Soundtrack, Velvet Goldmine $12.99 $15.99 n/a $14.99 $13.99
Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road $12.99 n/a $9.99 $11.99 $17.99

Bonus Rummage Items Sounds: Yum Yum, Dan Loves Patti CD, 88 cents; Walter Salas-Humara, Lagartija LP, $1.99; Babylon Dance Band LP, $2.99 Kim's:Laura Nyro, New York Tendaberry LP, $1; Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music LP, $1 Disc-O-Rama:Lakeside, "Fantastic Voyage" 12", $3.99; Prince Paul, Psychoanalysis (What Is It?) CD, $2.75 J&R: Little Louis and Marc Anthony, When the Night Is Over CD, $1.99 Virgin:Chocolate croissant, $2.09

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