Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead reviews "Bayou Magic," a new album by clarinetist Alvin Batiste. Since the 50s, Batiste has been a key figure in the modern jazz movement in New Orleans. Under the auspices of the State Department, he has toured the world extensively, and is also a teacher at Southern University in Baton Rouge, where his students have included Branford Marsalis and Donald Harrison.
Sun Ra's recent releases reveal the pianists' enduring interest in free improvisation and spectacle. Jazz critic Francis Davis says one is a prime example of the musician's ensemble work; the other is unlistenable.