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Roy King And Smoke Screen Get Graded

Roy King

Trios

(self-released)

Recorded at Painesville's Suma Recording, this album by Kent State grad Roy King is an eloquent affair that showcases not only his drumming abilities but also the skills of guest pianists Joe Hunter, Dan Maier and Leo Coach. That comes across clearly on the first track, "Lullaby of the Leaves," which features Hunter hammering away on piano. The quiet tune actually has some swing to it, as King, an instructor at Kent's Woodsy's Music and Lakewood's Vance Studios, keeps steady time. "My Romance," "There Is No Greater Love" and "Shiny Stockings" are all lively numbers, as is his cover of the Eagles' "Hotel California," which could have gone wrong. But in these guys' hands, it comes off nicely, as King and crew keep things on the subtle side. - Jeff Niesel Roy King performs at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 5, at Nighttown (12387 Cedar Rd., 216.795.0550). Tickets: $10.

Smoke Screen

Self Educated Learning Process

(Prhymal Rage)

myspace.com/smokescreen216

Ever wonder where all of the good old-school hip-hop went? Well, the first five tracks on Smoke Screen's debut, Self Educated Learning Process, could be what you've been looking for. "Go Now" and "Career Roulette" bring elements that hip-hop's been missing for a long time. Both feature basic looped beats and turntablist tricks. Once you get past those classic wonders, though, the album starts to lose focus. "Common Ground" sounds like what hip-hop has unfortunately become, leaning toward more of a mainstream hip-pop sound. The rest of the tracks follow suit. But if you want both new and old hip-hop in one place, Self Educated Learning Process is somewhere to find that. - Erika Schramm

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