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.
New weekly jazz programming returns to the airwaves this fall when Legends of Jazz debuts on PBS. Ramsey Lewis will host thirteen 30-minute shows each with a different theme such as “Voices of the Next Generation,” “The Divas,” and “The Golden Horns.” Chick Corea, Marcus Miller, Pat Metheny, David Sanborn, Arturo Sandoval, George Benson, George Duke, and Lee Ritenour are among the musicians who will appearing in the series.
Legends of Jazz kicks off in June with an hour-long special that spotlights five recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts’ NEA Jazz Masters award, the highest national honor in this art form: Nancy Wilson, James Moody, Jon Hendricks, Paquito D’Rivera, and Newport Jazz Festival founder George Wein.