WILLIAM ACKERMAN ``Imaginary Roads'' (Windham Hill WH-1078) - Guitarist Ackerman is founder of and first recording artist for new-age label Windham Hill. His latest release offers further evidence that he is a master of the genre. Here Ackerman's acoustic guitar is augmented at times by piano, oboe, shakuhachi flute, violin, synthesizer, or electric bass in a series of reflective original pieces that are endlessly pretty but never boring. THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE ``Radio One'' (Rykodisc RCD 20078) - This is classic, previously unreleased Hendrix, in a relaxed in-studio session at the BBC in 1967. Along with the classics ``Purple Haze,'' ``Stone Free,'' and ``Hey Joe,'' there's a wild and sloppy version of the Beatles' ``Day Tripper,'' Presley's ``Hound Dog,'' and even an off-the-cuff commercial for BBC. A must for Hendrix collectors.
GIPSY KINGS ``Gipsy Kings'' (Elektra 9 60845-1) - The latest in a growing number of non-English singing groups, these six men from southern France sing in Gitane, a mixture of Spanish, French, and Gypsy tongues. They write some of their own music, and other songs come from the flamenco tradition. While this is essentially ``roots'' music rather than ``world beat,'' it is strongly rhythmic, with most of the beat supplied by the six guitars. A promising debut, with the exception of a forgettable version of ``My Way'' (``Mi Manera'').
VARIOUS ARTISTS ``Stay Awake'' (A&M SP 13918-1) - Producer Hal Willner has put together an unbelievably oddball collection of singers and musicians to create this unusual album of songs from vintage Walt Disney films. Would you believe Yma Sumac, Betty Carter, Sinead O'Connor, Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt, Buster Poindexter, and Sun Ra? Just to mention a few! Amazingly, it hangs together pretty well. Best is Tom Wait's unrecognizable but wonderfully quirky ``Heigh Ho'' from ``Snow White.''
MORY KANTE ``Akwaba Beach'' (Polydor/ Barclay 833 119-1) - A traditionalist from Guinea in Western Africa, Kante is steeped in Mandingo rhythms and plays the kora, a 21-string traditional instrument, which sounds something like a harp. But he has taken his tradition and infused it with a driving disco beat and a big, contemporary studio sound. The result is an energizing blend of kora melodies and traditional-sounding vocals, African and rock percussion, synthesized backgrounds - it's full-blooded, exciting dance music.
MILES DAVIS ``The Columbia Years 1955-1958'' (Columbia C5X 45000) - This five-record set focuses on the veteran jazz trumpeter's introspective, ``cool'' side. Each disc reflects some aspect of Davis's ever-changing stylistic development - blues, standards, originals, moods - ending with his foray into the world of electronics and rock. Although the package tends to overlook Davis's fiery side, it's a decent overview, especially for newcomers to his music.