Sharp Notes April 03 2002

AZURE WAVES. Electronic pop star Moby asked Athens duo Azure Ray to co-write and record with him. The result, "The Great Escape," appears on Moby's new album, 18. Azure Ray has a new release of its own, Burn and Shiver, out April 9.?

USHERED IN AND OUT. R&B crooner Usher, one of only three Georgia artists (out of nearly two dozen nominated) to walk away with any Grammy Awards this year, will see the reissue of his earliest recordings. Hip-O Records is putting out the self-titled debut from NuBeginning, the Chattanooga-based vocal quintet Usher fronted in the early '90s before going solo. In other local R&B news, vocal foursome 112 is the latest act to split from P. Diddy's sinking ship, Bad Boy. The group has signed with Island Def Jam.?

NEW ANTIQUE. Just a few weeks after longtime Young Antiques drummer Mason Brazelle retired from the rock trio, former Shock Lobo/Bikini Atoll drummer John Speaks has stepped in as his permanent replacement, debuting at two shows in early March. The band plans to record new material in April.?

KENNY WHO'S AND THE WHAT? For those keeping score: Kenny Howes and his backing band, which used to be Kenny Howes & The Yeah!, regrouped recently to become Kenny Howes and the New Guys, but was renamed Kenny Howes New Quartet for its second gig and is now known as the Kenny Howes Quartet.