notoriousHey, we took a break for a coupla weeks and now we’re back. The music industry is slowly shaking out of it’s slumber, and while there aren’t any superstar releases for a couple weeks still, there is some interesting niche-y kinda stuff getting released. We’re gonna roll with a new format this year and see if it sticks.

The big deal this week is the release of the Notorious B.I.G. biopic Notorious on Friday, and a few days in advance of the movie’s release, we have the soundtrack. This will be the 4th compilation of B.I.G.’s material released since his death. There’s fairly significant overlap between this CD and the Greatest Hits album Bad Boy put out two years ago,with the exception of a couple of demos, and one song featuring B.I.G.’s 12 year old son. Let’s hear it for exploitation!!

Not much else going on. Jam band lovers can rejoice because the Derek Trucks Band is releasing their new album, Already Free today. On the R&B side, we have new releases from the bluesy Syleena Johnson and former Broadway star Heather Headley, whose first gospel album comes out today. All you jazziacs can take a listen to the new Ravi Coltrane and Joshua Redman releases, and late 90s fetishists can pick up the new (hed) p.e. album.

A few interesting things going on as far as reissues. The Now That’s What I Call Music series turns its’ attention to Motown just in time for the pioneering label’s 50th anniversary with a track listing remarkably similar to the Motown #1s CD that came out about half a decade ago. Odessa, one of the Bee Gees‘ earlier efforts, gets the 2-disc deluxe treatment today, and Sony’s environmentally friendly Playlist series has a ton of new entries, ranging from Run-DMC and The Jacksons to Van Morrison and Dan Fogelberg.

You can get the full list of new releases here.