Wednesday, July 02, 2014



Madlib invades Blue Note! He gets free reign of the catalog for this mix of sampler genius and live band interpretations, too, as/with Ahmad Miller, Yesterdays New Quintet, Malcolm Catto, Medaphoar, and others from the Stones Throw camp. This one's truly a conceptual triumph, if there ever was such a thing – one of the greatest hip hop producers alive, given carte blanche with the source beats of the century! Madlib's Blue Note crates are heavily weighed in the mid 60s through mid 70s electric beats that often get the shaft in mainstream jazz round-ups, but floor the beathead world into overdrive. Re-interpretations, remixes, and revisions are spliced seamlessly with the source samples, creating a whole new world where hip hop and late model live funk not only co-exists with classic Blue Note jazz, but it actually draws a linear transition between the 2 genius art forms. Beautiful stuff – if the album isn't the most original idea to come along all of these years into the hip hop & jazz underground, it's certainly one of the most perfectly realized projects of its kind, ever! It's one for the time capsule – easily one of Madlib's masterpieces, and pure funky sample wizardry by any standard! Includes Monk Higgins' "Slim's Return" interpreted by Ahmad Miller and DJ Lord Such on cuts, "Donald Byrd's "Distant Land", "Ronnie Foster's "Mystic Bounce", Yesterday's New Quintet's adaptation of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints", Madlib Invazion's "Funky Blue Note", the Joe McDuphrey Experience take on Horace Silver's/Herbie Hancock's "Peace/Dolphin Dance" and lots more. LP, Vinyl. ~ Dusty Groove


This is a specially imported limited edition 20-bit digital remaster from Japan. While side two of I Sing the Body Electric gives us heavily edited glimpses of Weather Report as heard live in Tokyo, this two-disc Japanese import contains entire group ensembles from that concert -- and as such, it is a revelation. Now we can follow the wild, stream-of-consciousness evolution of early Weather Report workouts, taking the listener into all kinds of stylistic territory -- from Joe Zawinul's lone acoustic piano to dissonant free form and electronic explosions -- with lots of adjustments of tempo and texture. The pulse of jazz is more evident in their work here than on their American albums, and the example of Miles Davis circa the Fillmore concerts directs the fierce interplay. In his subsequent recordings with Weather Report, and as a leader, Wayne Shorter would rarely equal the manic intensity he displayed in Tokyo. All of the music is encapsulated in five lengthy "medleys" of WR's repertoire, three of which contain elongated versions of themes from the group's eponymously titled debut album from 1971. This would be the radical apogee of Weather Report on records, though they could retain this level of fire in concert for years to come. ~ Richard S. Ginell 


The most versatile and underrated item in Moore's often overlooked catalog, Read My Lips runs the gamut from funky R&B radio numbers to quietly passionate ballads to rock-stenciled up-tempo fare. Moore packs a tight-lipped, defiant punch on kinetic affairs such as "Mind Over Matter" and "Winner." Meanwhile, she's pure and sultry on the slow burn of "To Those Who Wait" and the emotional intensity of "I Can't Believe It (It's Over)." Having plenty of able assistance on hand doesn't hurt her case, either: producers Keith Diamond and Paul Laurence bring a meld of jazz, funk, pop, and soul influences to the fold, and intertwine them with remarkable consistency. This resourceful approach results in material that far surpasses earlier hits like "Love's Comin' at Ya" and "Keepin' My Lover Satisfied"; and it also turns out a surprising remake of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams." With arrangements that are always on the dot, solid songs, and stellar vocals, Read My Lips is a must for every Moore fan's collection. ~ Justin M. Kantor

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