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TRACY CHAPMAN ``Tracy Chapman'' (Elektra 9 60774-1) - Remarkable debut from the singer/guitarist who rose to prominence on the Cambridge/Boston folk scene. Ms. Chapman's deep voice (reminiscent of Joan Armatrading's) and fervent, matter-of-fact delivery bring a special dimension to her lyrics, which deal with battered women, racism, poverty, and materialism (``Mountains o' Things''). Her approach is disarmingly unassuming but dead serious. TUCK AND PATTI ``Joy'' (Windham Hill WP0111) - Another impressive debut album - this from husband-and-wife team Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart in what is also a debut for Windham Hill's new jazz label. Patti's soulful vocals (a hint of Betty Carter here) are the perfect complement for Tuck's deft acoustic guitar. With no other backup at all, the two have created an immensely appealing setting for songs that range from the fiercely swinging ``I've Got Just About Everything'' to the starkly simple ``Takes My Breath Away.''

LEONARD COHEN ``I'm Your Man'' (Columbia FC44191) - ``You loved me as a loser, but now you're worried that I just might win,'' drones the Canadian singer/songwriter on his latest album. Here Cohen gives a nod or two to Tom Waits, combining dour cynicism with black humor. But the humor sometimes gets buried in the bleakness of the lyrics and the repetitive, marchlike rhythms. Nevertheless, many of the songs have a kind of deadpan cerebral appeal, especially the weird ``Jazz Police.''

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NANA MOUSKOURI ``Terra Viva'' Polygram 422-832-958-1) - The Greek recording star - who is perhaps the world's most durable pop phenomenon - has recorded more than 800 albums in seven languages in her 28-year career. Her latest is a collection of classic Spanish songs, sung in her sweet, youthful voice, with an orchestral backup. Highlights: the lilting ``Canta Canta a Mi Gente'' and the bombastic but invigorating ``Aleluya.''

VARIOUS ARTISTS ``The Columbia Jazz Sampler: Perspectives'' (Columbia CTX 44204, CD and cassette only) - Selections from some recent Columbia jazz releases include a wide spectrum of styles, from the forward-looking mainstream of Wynton Marsalis's ``April in Paris'' to Paquito D'Rivera's watered-down pop tune ``The Magic City.'' Best cuts include the work of newcomer Kimiko Itoh, a young Japanese vocalist of considerable promise, and Arthur Blythe's catchy ``As of Yet.''

CLEO LAINE ``Cleo Sings Sondheim'' (RCA 7702-1-RC) - Ms. Laine's debut for RCA is a splendid collection of Sondheim songs. The singer's deep, throaty voice and flair for subtle dramatics are tailor-made for Sondheim's sophisticated lyrics and music and Jonathan Tunick's imaginative arrangements. Selections include songs from ``Follies,'' ``Sweeney Todd,'' ``A Little Night Music,'' ``Into the Woods,'' ``Company,'' and the lovely ``I Remember,'' from ``Evening Primrose.'' Leaves you wanting more.

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