What can I say about That?s What I Say, John Scofield?s tribute to Ray Charles? It?s fun. It?s a celebration. It?s a party with Sco, Larry Goldings, Steve Jordan, John Mayer, Dr. John, Mavis Staples, David ?Fathead? Newman, Aaron Neville, Warren Haynes, Willie Weeks, and many more. Needless to say, there is some soul on this recording. Many of Ray?s best known songs are covered, some in an intimate setting such as Sco solo on ?Georgia on My Mind? and Scoldings? (Sco and Goldings) duet on ?Cryin? Time.? The horn section of Alex Foster, Earl Gardner, Howard Johnson, and Keith O?Quinn kick their tracks up a notch. All of the musicians, including the five vocalists, jam on ?What?d I Say.? Scofield has different arrangements for some of the songs, preventing it from becoming just a cover album. Check out Sco?s commentary on how this came to be as well as many other aspects of the album on his site. That?s What I Say is in stores tomorrow on the Verve label.
Two good compilations were released domestically in the last few weeks. Chillout Jazz comes from the Benz-Street. I?m listening to this in the middle of the night (love those three-day weekends) and I can attest that it sets a good late-night vibe. It pulls the majority of the artists from the Good Looking label so it has LTJ Bukem, Sian, and Poets of Thought. The remaining ten tracks are selections from Mezzoforte, Ming, Tok Tok Tok, Lazar, Marcel, Dr. Jazz?s Universal Remedy, Carbuncle, and John Beltran, and Gerwin Eisenhauer. Among the highlights are Mezzoforte?s punchy ?Four Corners,? John Beltran featuring Sol Set?s vocalese ?Aztec Girl,? and Cedar?s bass-driven ?Golden.?
Acid Jazz: The Essential Album lives up to its name. This two-CD monster compilation features 30 tracks, many of which are signature tracks of the genre. Who doesn?t know Us3?s ?Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)?? How about the Brand New Heavies? ?Dream Come True? or ?Never Stop,? Arrested Development?s ?People Everyday,? Jamiroquai?s ?Space Cowboy,? Nuyorican Soul?s ?Black Gold of the Sun,? and ?Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)? from Digable Planets? Multiple labels are traversed to get the best representation for this collection. Incognito with Jocelyn Brown?s ?Always There? is included as well as music from the James Taylor Quartet, D?Influence, United Future Organization, Snowboy, Night Trains, Young Disciples, Sunship, and DJ Spinna. On top of the sounds, Quinton Scott has supplied detailed liner notes for every track.
As far as I?m concerned, this is the definitive acid jazz compilation. Acid Jazz: The Essential Album is what I?ll be referring people to when they ask about the music I listen to.
DJ Spooky, who always deserves attention when he releases a new recording, is now an author. Using his real name, Paul D. Miller, he has written Rhythm Science, a book with his thoughts on art, music, sampling and remixing. In a recent interview with Katie Dean, Miller explains how the book came about: ?I felt that there hadn’t been a book by a DJ about the whole DJ process. It’s not just playing records … it’s about record players, crowds (and) social environments. So the book was a snapshot of that — a screensaver so to speak — of how you can have this kind of technologically conditioned social culture. And as a practicing artist I realized there hadn’t been that many books, in fact none, written by other DJs.? The book, naturally, comes with a full-length mix CD where Spooky samples Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Patti Smith, and others.
No updates this week due to the death of my father this weekend. He was a good man of incredible strength who will be very much missed.
As reported in January, Bluey assembled an all-star group (called Hope Collective) to record a song to help victims of the tsunami. The single, entitled “Give and Let Live,” was released in the UK last week. There is currently no scheduled availability in the U.S. It’s an incredibly infectious song. It’s pure Bluey. The horns, guitar, the staggering array of singers, the production – everything is perfect. Get the info on the charities and the performers, watch the video, listen to the MP3 and more at the Hope Collective site.