Archive for the ‘-Jazz’ Category

An incredible rendition of Ski’s “Dead Presidents” beat from Jay-Z’s legendary first album, Reasonable DoubtThink Twice & David Ryshpan injected some real emotion into their version, taking it to a pretty somber and reflective place. It’s hard to add to such a classic beat like this without taking away essential elements, but they did just that, and created something novel.


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Where I listened to the album (Berlin, Germany)

Well, Tiger Speak has become even jazzier. After first hearing their self-titled EP almost two years ago, I had much difficulty naming a mainstream characterization of their sound. Calling it jazz-influenced hip hop was understating the jazz but at the same time Ryan Easter’s rapping provided an essential element to their music and overall vibe. ­The only description that seemed fair was a constant change-up from jazz to rap – what I called transportation from a 60’s jazz club to a contemporary rap venue (when speaking of their live performance).  On the spectrum of straight jazz to straight rap I had them at about JAZZ ———-here———————RAP.  This new live album puts them about JAZZ —— here ————————-RAP.  Of course this is a silly and arbitrary way of getting my point across but I think it gets my point across. I now choose to refer to their music as Spoken Jazz – a whole lotta sexy jazz mixed with some verbose spoken word poetry.

Ryan Easter is quite the MC. Sometimes he talks, sometimes he spits trap-style, other times he raps as fast as he can, but regardless of the technique he’s delivering, he gets every single damn word he’s trying to say into each line and every verse.  He’s like the MF Doom who refuses to spill his words into the next bar.  Easter is the out-of-breath poet trying to keep up with the speedy sound his musical counterparts partake in.

Tiger Speak could successfully survive as a jazz orchestra and at times they create a sound that doesn’t really sound hip-hoppy at all. But I think that’s what makes them so cool. They know how to keep a bit quiet, laying down jazz club background sounds while the MC controls the mic. They also know how to completely let loose and belt a musical interlude that will make you forget you are listening to 2014 rap…and then Easter comes screeching in while the jazzsters turn down their stereo. Then they take turns showing each other their skills. It’s teamwork at work.

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People can hate on Mac as much as they like, but the dude’s a stud.  He may have a few more tattoos than he started with, and he may not be as perpetually upbeat as he once was, but the guy is pushing his own musical limits in ways that one can’t help but respect.  He’s not like Lil Wayne, in the sense that he can actually produce tasteful music, even if its a form that’s foreign to him.  Anyway, I’ve always been a fan of Mac, but his jazzy, soulful, “Objects In The Mirror”, only solidifies his place as a bright spot in popular rap.

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Here’s a really cool take on Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.”  Aspects of hip hop, jazz, reggae, and chillness shine through.  Beautiful stuff.

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I want to start of this jazzy, relaxed Dilla Sunday with this relaxed, jazzy Jay Dee treat from his 2001 album Welcome 2 Detroit. I was initially surprised to hear that Dwele was on this song, as I did not believe I had heard him. Upon further research I have found that he plays bass here, rather than singing how he usually tends to sing. He cover’s Donald Byrd’s “Think Twice”, which I’m listening to right now and I cannot pinpoint the song that I recognize from the introduction.

I think I’ve got it. I recognize it from DJ Jazzy Jeff’s “Practice” featuring J Live that Salz has previously posted. Please, if you enjoy recognizing the generational evolution of music, listen to each of these.

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An absolutely beautiful rendition of Dilla‘s most elegant beat, “Fall In Love.”  The orchestra does an unbelievably impressive job maintaining the Dilla’s soulful, hip hop essence while playing out the melody.  The video is really cool as both Ms. Yancey (Mama Dukes) and Illa J are in attendance, constantly being shown by the cameras.  Illa J provides the hook at points, making the instrumental interpretation that much better.

Note: Karriem Riggins is on the drums.

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I’ve been loving J Dilla covers/reinterpretations lately.  This one especially gets me because the sexiest instrument in all the land, the sax, is the prime focus of the mixtape.  Darryl Reeves, the saxophonist and creator of Dillaquarium, gets Kenny Banks Jr. on the keyboards, Joel Powell (great name) on the bass and Kenton Bostick (relevant name) on the drums, to create “Donut Man,” my personal favorite from the free tape.  If you like The Roots‘ Dilla Jointswhich you can find a free download of in our mixtapes/albums tab, you will like Dillaquarium (this one is more jazzy).  Compare their “Upper Egypt” takes if you’d like.

Download Dillaquarium for free 

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It’s not easy to add a modern twist to any Tribe Called Quest song and make it work, especially with this track, a song that I didn’t think could get much better. But here comes Bit Funk, and he just puts a beautiful spin on this classic with some current drums, a bit of jazz and a bit of funk. He has ingeniously turned a mellow piece of headphone music into a sprightly new track that can be played at some low-key parties, some chilled out vibe sessions, or practically any other medium of play. Like I said before, remixing a Tribe song is hard to do without severely damaging the intended vibes of chillness put forth, but with a nice, clean remix that is not too far away from the Tribe sound (minus the contemporary drums), Bit Funk has set the corner stone for how people should respect the great group when remixing.

Download this via Soundcloud here

Follow @BitFunk

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Just a wonderful jazzy beat by the late, great Nujabes. I’ve heard that the flute midway through and onwards is Nujabes himself playing, as he was a rather gifted flute player. Crazy good.

Off of the compilation tape Saudade


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“I’m gonna take your grandpa’s style”…well, they just did and it sounds so sweet. The early 20th century jazz/swing “cover” of Macklemore’“Thrift Shop” is making some noise, and everyone should hear this creativity that keeps popping up in more and more places around the web.

Download this MP3 here

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