So what if there's nothing significantly new on Simon & Garfunkel's two-CD live retrospective? Recorded last year at Madison Square Garden and the New Jersey's Continental Airlines Arena, the triumphant "Old Friends: Live on Stage" finds the divorced/ reunited duo making its first appearance side by side in 20 years.
Electro-smart Chicks on Speed began as a fake art band in the late '90s with a deliriously twisted remake of "Warm Leatherette." Now, after releasing a "best-of" compilation ("The Re-Releases of the Un-Releases") and one studio album ("Will Save Us All"), the Berlin-based Chicks—Kiki Morse, Melissa Logan and Alex Murray-Leslie—deliver their most mature recording yet.
Cuban-born pianist/composer Manuel Valera has been paying his jazz dues for some time now, having toured with, among others, Paquito D'Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Steve Turre, John Benitez and Dave Valentin.
Thrust back into the limelight thanks to his scene-stealing appearances on the latest edition of the VH1 reality show "The Surreal Life," Public Enemy rapper Flavor Flav is working on a new album with PE colleague Chuck D as well as a solo disc.
While their five-times-platinum 2003 Arista set, "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," continues to yield hit singles, the members of acclaimed hip-hop duo OutKast have an ambitious slate of projects on tap for 2005. Andre 3000 and Big Boi have just finished filming their first movie, which will air on HBO, and are simultaneously working on two albums.