MONTHLY RECORD GUIDE. Lou Reed sheds his violent, image for simple pleasures , upbeat music
Lou Reed: ''New Sensations.'' (RCA, AFL 1-4998.) - You would barely know it from listening to this album, but this is the same person who once tried to shock the world into a moral catharsis by playing songs that celebrated a street mythology of disenchantment, drugs, and violence.
Those who remember the Lou Reed who led the 1960s underground rock band Velvet Underground (before pursuing a solo career in the 1970s) will recognize few similarities to the Lou Reed on this album.
Here Reed's music is lighter and more exuberant than ever before. The music incorporates basic, almost bouncy rhythm-and-blues and sharp, almost twangy guitar riffs. The lyrics - even the ones that indulge in some camp humor - are relatively harmless and lack any histrionics.
But the most serious example of Reed's changing attitude is in the title cut, a very straightforward song of appreciation for the simple pleasures - such as motorcycle riding and playing country music on the jukebox.
''I want the principles of a timeless muse/I want to eradicate my negative views/And get rid of those people who are always on the down,'' he sings. CLASSICAL
The Great Voice of Marilyn Horne. Arias from ''Mignon,'' ''Les Huguenots,'' ''Norma,'' ''Semiramide,'' ''Orfeo ed Euridice,'' ''La Cenerentola,'' ''L'Italiana in Algeri,'' ''Samson et Dalila,'' ''Il Barbiere di Siviglia.'' (London Jubilee 411 649-1.) - This generous sampling of Marilyn Horne's unique vocal gifts is culled from the best of her recital albums and complete operatic performances. The recordings date from 1965-69 and find her in peak vocal form. There are undoubtedly many who would not want to be without those complete performances and recitals, for they show off one of the great vocal techniques of our times and one of the great stylists. Bel canto is Miss Horne's forte, and most of the arias chosen here are from that literature, but even in repertoire not usually associated with this supreme mezzo, she triumphs. Her performance of ''Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix,'' from ''Samson et Dalila,'' is one of the best ever, taken at an amazingly slow tempo yet utterly voluptuous, as the singing and interpretation must be. Whoever put this disc together clearly loves Miss Horne and has shown her off to the finest advantage. Since London's track record of recycled arias albums is not always the finest, this is indeed good news. It is yet another impressive addition to one of the most exciting new budget labels around - London Jubilee.
Music for the Kings of France: Suites by Francois and Louis Couperin and Louis Marchand. Igor Kipnis, harpsichord. (Nonesuch Silver Series. 7559-78021-1 .) - It is refreshing to find a recording of 17th-century harpsichord music that fuses scholarly interpretation with unaffected delivery. Free of a motoric sense of tempo, Mr. Kipnis reproduces well the improvisatory spirit in which this music was written. Kipnis might as well have been sent here from the 17th century expressly to play its music for us, so natural is his phrasing. Yet he avoids polluting the music with gestures foreign to the style and period. Kipnis takes all repeats, ornamenting imaginatively, though the undergrowth gets dense in a few spots. Other aspects of this recording are just as good. Period instruments are used from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts collection, and even the tuning used for the Louis Couperin is that of the period. It sounds odd to our ears, but has a certain bracing quality. The harpsichord is miked from average audience distance to capture as nearly as possible a live quality of sound.
Rachmaninoff, Sergei: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18; Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43. Cecile Licad, piano. Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado, conductor. (CBS Masterworks digital IM 38672.) Arthur Rubinstein , piano. Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Fritz Reiner, conductor. (RCA Red Seal .5 Series ARP1-4934.) - Twenty-seven years separate these two releases, both with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The earlier (RCA) performances of Rachmaninoff's most beloved piano/orchestra works is led by Fritz Reiner, then music director. The current (CBS) issue features principal guest conductor Claudio Abbado. The soloists could hardly be more different: Arthur Rubinstein is at the very height of his powers, Cecile Licad at the beginning of a promising career (this is her debut recording). Yet they both bring a pedigree, a delicacy, a subtle, nuanced view to works so often charged through at blustering velocity and little poetry. Both represent the highest sound standards of their days. The RCA disc is a magnificent ''.5 Series'' remastering of the '56 performances, with uncommonly quiet surfaces, very little tape hiss, and splendid sound. Mr. Reiner gives the suave Mr. Rubinstein a slightly tart yet loving backdrop against which the pianist shines resplendently. The CBS digital release is a sonic spectacle, one of the finest concerto recordings I have heard in many a year. From the most delicate to the fullest sound, the aural spectrum remains full-bodied, sumptuous , clear, free of distortion. Abbado's work here gives the delicacy of Miss Licad's pianism a logical, convincing, beautiful framework. It is, for her, a most unusual debut recording.
Sor, Fernando: Seguidillas; Andantino. Martin y Soler, Vincente: Canzonette; two arias from ''Una Cosa Rara.'' Teresa Berganza, mezzo-soprano. Jose Miguel Moreno. (Philips digital 411 030-1.) - This stylish album offers unusual repertoire elegantly put forth. Miss Berganza has long been a champion of her native Spanish composers' songs, and she has presented us, over the years, with wonderful recordings of music by the famous and the neglected. Here she offers Sor's 12 subtle but pithy Seguidillas - brief songs set to a dance rhythm (in this case, a bolero) that were deemed, in their day, ''veritable jewels.'' The Andantino for solo guitar is a beguiling piece. The Martin y Soler songs are more immediately appealing, both for their wonderful tunefulness and their Italian lilt. (Martin was a rival to Mozart in Vienna). The two arias give a taste of a delectable tunesmith in the idiom that gained him so much popularity in his day. Miss Berganza has been in better voice in the past, but the ability to make each song something whole yet distinct is but one of her unique and treasurable gifts. Mr. Moreno is an elegant accompanist. POP/ROCK
Box of Frogs: ''Box of Frogs.'' (Epic BFE39327.) - High-tech is nice, but this album by the original Yardbirds is a nostalgic reminder of how basic and uncluttered rock-and-roll can be - in spite of some sophisticated modern gadgetry.Cuts like ''Another Wasted Day,'' ''Back Where I Started,'' and ''Love Inside You'' are ideal examples of how a band can utilize modern recording techniques to produce old-fashioned, blues-oriented rock music. But the best cuts - such as ''Two Steps Ahead'' and ''Poor Boy'' - combine John Fiddler's light, warm voice and veteran guitar player Jeff Beck's rough and bluesy hard-driving lead solos.
The Jacksons: ''Victory.'' (Epic QE38946.) - Beneath all the hype surrounding the Jacksons - especially Michael Jackson - there is a lot of talent. Of course, the help they get is a big part of it. Michael's blockbuster ''Thriller'' album drew on musicians as diverse (and talented) as heavy-metal guitarist Eddie Van Halen and the mellifluous ex-Beatle vocalist Paul McCartney.In ''Victory,'' the Jacksons create a vibrant synthesis of disco, soul, heavy metal, and rhythm-and-blues traditions. But the result is not a hodgepodge of musical styles. Except for some of the weaker cuts - including the Mick Jagger-Michael Jackson duet ''State of Shock'' - the Jacksons show that they have developed a music very much their own. The sweeping sythesizer flurries in ''Torture,'' the simple soulful rhythms of ''Wait,'' and the lyrical idealism of ''We Can Change the World'' are the high points of this noninnovative but nonetheless worthwhile album.
Kerry Livgren AD: ''Time Line.'' (CBS Records BFZ-39368.) - Kerry Livgren masterminded most of Kansas' greatest opuses - including the lion's share of the ''Leftoverture'' album, perhaps the apotheosis of this group's baroque brand of rock. As such, it's no surprise to hear much on the album ''Time Line'' that reminds one of Kansas.''Time Line'' showcases Livgren's ornate, occasionally pompous music and his moralistic, vaguely metaphysical lyrics. Lead singers Michael Gleason (who also wrote one song and co-wrote two others with Livgren) and Warren Ham ably belt out themes that can soar dangerously high. Throughout, Livgren's various keyboard noises help give AD its rich texture. The result is a musical realm Livgren - whether with Kansas or AD - has all to himself. As such, one can forgive him the persistent, elliptical preachiness and the occasional musical passage that sounds too much like something Kansas has already tried (an entire segment of ''Take Us to the Water'' here is borrowed from ''Sparks of the Tempest,'' from the Kansas ''Point of Know Return''cq album). The two pinnacles of the LP are ''Beyond the Pale,'' and ''Slow Motion Suicide,'' a superb song assailing destructive life styles.
Rod Stewart: ''Camouflage'' (WEA Records 1-25095.) - This album is wispy and fastidious, yet could be considered complete. In ''Bad for You,'' Stewart has the pleasure of rejoining Jeff Beck, who had been a member of the Yardbirds along with Stewart. Because Beck's guitar is used as background material rather than as a vehicle for momentum, his contributions aren't what they could be. ''Trouble,'' the only ballad on the album, interjects piano trills, making the song delicate and simple. The harmonies on the song ''Camouflage'' tend to melt away into a dry desolate well and refuse to re-emerge. This destroys the message conveyed by the bass player's backbeat. Stewart's main hit off Camouflouge, ''Infatuation,'' possesses an insistent beat that sticks with you. People often associate Rod Stewart with that hoarse voice of his. Either he lost it or decided to take voice lessons, because it's not that evident on this album. I regard Stewart as a superstar who is relying on his former stardom to carry him through the '80s. Not a total flop, but overrated. JAZZ
Symbols of Hopi - Jill McManus. Jill McManus, piano; Dave Liebman, soprano sax, alto flute; Tom Harrell, trumpet, flugelhorn; Marc Johnson, bass; Billy Hart, drums; Louis Mossie, cottonwood drums, rattles; Alan Star, bells, rattles. (Concord Jazz CJ-242.) - In her latest release, pianist Jill McManus has combined contemporary jazz with Hopi Indian traditional and ritual melodies and dance forms. The result is unusual and quite successful.Ms. McManus has taken the Hopi melodies, as well as three of her own compositions (inspired by visits with Hopis in the Southwest), and arranged them in a manner that preserves the somewhat melancholy sound of the Hopi music, while allowing the jazz players to improvise on their own terms. The two musical cultures alternate and intertwine throughout the set in a fascinating way. McManus points out in the liner notes that improvisation is not part of the Hopi musical tradition; nevertheless the Hopi songs lend themselves nicely to that concept.McManus has surrounded herself with some of New York's finest musicians on this album, all of whom share a sensitivity to the Hopi music and an ability to infuse it with American jazz without overshadowing or distorting it.
Bill Evans - The Paris Concert - Edition Two. Bill Evans, piano; Marc Johnson , bass; Joe LaBarbera, drums. (Elektra Musician 60311-1.) - This album is the second of two concerts recorded at L'Espace Cardin in Paris in the fall of 1979. The first album, ''Bill Evans - The Paris Concert - Edition One,'' was reviewed previously in this column. The second album - unlike the first, which contains no compositions by Evans - is a welcome showcase for Evans's compositional talents. It includes four of his own tunes - ''Re: Person I Knew,'' ''Letter to Evan,'' ''34 Skidoo,'' and ''Laurie,'' as well as Gary McFarland's ''Gary's Theme,'' and Miles Davis's ''Nardis.''''I play almost everything I play now with conviction,'' said the late Bill Evans in an interview, and these last recordings of his career attest to that statement. Here, as in Edition One, Evans is vigorous, energetic, and percussive, in contrast to the mellow introspection of his earlier recordings. Yet he is still introspective here, if by that is meant searching, probing, and reaching for new ways to express his particular musical vision.As in Edition One, Evans plays a lot of solo piano especially on his long, thoughtfully developed introductions. The entire album is eminently musical, and, along with Edition One, a must for any Evans record collection.