Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

The prefix “DJ” in aliases turns a lot of people off away from a whole lot of good music. It’s not all about techno/house/jungle nonsense for these new age instrumentalists. Artists like DJ Krush, DJ Muggs and DJ Shadow are out there, tearing it up with their brand of turntabilsm. Some atmospheric, others groovy, and most of them indelibly captivating in their orchestrated brilliance.

DJ Shadow is a personal favourite of mine. Born as Josh Davis, he began “his music career as a disc jockey for UC Davis radio station KDVS”. Pretty soon, he locked himself inside the studio, hoping to find his muse. The results were breathtaking as the adventures in sound he created with hip-hop, jazz, funk, and psychedelic rock made for compulsive hearing. His first album – Endtroducing – was insanely good. Hell, it got featured in the Guinness World Records book for “First Completely Sampled Album”.

His later albums paled a bit in comparison but were leaps and bounds better than anything produced by The Neptunes or any of their ilk, who wear “bling bling” and feature R&B musicians who really can’t sing.

The soundscapes in “Midnight In A Perfect World” paints a laidback, almost eerily disconnected picture. One, which reminds you of quiet, melancholic nights in worlds untouched by anything unsavory. The harmonies will float inside your head, and the beats will keep your toes alert.

This is the closest to perfection that you can expect from any person who prefixes “DJ” to his alias.


DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World


DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing

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Dewdrops are falling on my head…

I can’t say I have always thought of what would happen if warm dewdrops collided with groovy jazz. After listening to Belleruche, I must say that it feels pretty dam good to know just exactly how it would sound.

Listen to her before life distracts you with something consequential.

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And the beat goes on

This is my night of soft jazz and forgotten films. This is my chance to grasp something real.

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And all that jazz

@ www.floodwatchmusic.com

Jazz purists can be slightly annoying with their elitist take on music. I would think twice before sharing a cup of coffee or a glass of whiskey with any of them. At one point, I thought jazz music was just as annoying as its fans. I took sickly sweet pleasure in berating the genre for being unfocused and pretentious. The George Bensens and John Coltranes of the world could not convince me to give it a second listen.

When I joined college sometime in 1999, I cultivated a habit of buying tapes of musicians unbeknownst to my ears. In one such fit of madness, I bought Digger Deeper: Roots of Acid Jazz. The inclusion of Ray Barretto’s Pastime Paradise gave me the chills, mostly because it was an improvised version of a Stevie Wonder hit single. Hell, even simian rapper Coolio covered it and renamed it as Gangster’s Paradise.

Motown’s most renowned blind man crooned about ‘dissipation’ and ‘world relations’, while years later Coolio rapped about ‘educated fools’ and the social ignominy of walking ‘through the valley of the shadow of death’. As for Ray Barretto…well, he stuck to his jazz artillery and let loose a sound so effortless in motion that even dewdrops would turn green in envy while trickling down window panes. This was the first jazz song I liked and for years, it would remain as the only one too.

And then came Thelonious Monk. Through my speakers and into my life. Before listening to his chilling compositions in the 1962 album Monk’s Dream, the word ‘bebop’ meant little else than its resemblance to the sound made by Roadrunner just before scooting away from Wily Coyote. After listening to the last song Sweet and Lovely on this record, the genre bebop took shape inside my mind. It was wild, challenging and proudly incapable of being confined within a singular melody. The album was on rotation in my stereo. I couldn’t stop listening to it. But also, around that time, my impulsive purchasing spree was reaching an all-time high and it was just a matter of time before I stumbled upon a tape that had a picture of a three-legged dog on its cover. Alice In Chains’ self-titled album choked out everything else on my shelf…the withering chords of Frogs along with singer Layne Staley putting the world to shame “for being this way” got me hooked. For the next few years, grunge music was all I wanted to hear. And jazz lost its way in my life.

Abandoned and left to wallow in its obscurity.

Yesterday night, I was browsing through floodwatchmusic.com, a really excellent mp3 blog that talks “swimmingly” about vintage soul, hip-hop and jazz. One such song up for download was Générique by Miles Davis. Two minutes and a few seconds later, I was convinced that I have heard fewer sounds out there more alluring than Miles Davis trumpet.

It would have been the perfect theme to witnessing a sunset. Or making love.

I have re-discovered jazz and am in love with it, for now.

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