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Bjork in Full-Throated Plumage, Jazz in a Calmer Key

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There has been no shortage of live Bjork documentation in recent seasons. So lets file Voltaic, released by Nonesuch a couple of weeks ago, under the category of Things We Didnt Think We Needed.

Available in five configurations, from a single CD to a multiple CD-DVD-LP set, it chronicles a typical frenzy of activity following the release of Bjorks 2007 album, Volta. The principal CD, recorded in one pass at a studio in London, features live versions of the songs from the Volta tour, performed by a colorful cohort including the keyboardist-programmers Mark Bell and Damian Taylor, the drummer Chris Corsano and an all-female Icelandic brass ensemble.

Which might seem like enough. But if youve come this far, it hardly makes sense to forgo the concert DVD, filmed in Paris last year. Bjork is still among the small handful of pop artists capable of deftly pairing crazy pageantry with clear-sighted musicianship, and here shes near the top of her game: strutting the stage in brilliant plumage, unleashing her voice in ways both conspiratorial and guttural. The show ends in confetti-strewn delirium, which provides an unlikely segue to the remainder of the DVD. That part involves a Reykjavik church recital, filmed in what looks like the style of a 1980s infomercial. It shows Bjorks liturgical side, which is calmer but not a bit less ambitious.

Joe Morris

Not quite a decade ago the perceptive jazz guitarist Joe Morris began a side career as a bassist, developing a new set of techniques and strategies for improvisation. Wildlife (Aum Fidelity), a trio release with the saxophonist Petr Cancura and the drummer Luther Gray, highlights his ascendant command of the larger instrument. The albums four long tracks were spontaneously conceived, and Mr. Morris steers the action with bullish clarity, whether hes plucking tangled clusters or walking four beats to the bar. His rapport with Mr. Gray, a regular colleague, runs impressively deep. More surprising is his bond with Mr. Cancura, a relative newcomer (to me, at least) whose robust exertions on alto and tenor access free-jazz legacies from both sides of the Atlantic. The trio will perform on Friday at Barbs in Park Slope, Brooklyn; barbesbrooklyn.com.

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