Moving down Milwaukee Ave closer to the Ashland/Division blue line stop you will find a relatively new record store, Shuga. I stepped in and immediately realized they had expanded. Awesome! More crates is more diggin’ is more records for me!!! This time I started with the jazz section in my Quest Called Dig:
Cannonball Adderley- Love, Sex, And The Zodiac
I absolutely love it when an artist takes up a research question. The question to be answered in Love, Sex, and the Zodiac is “Do you need sex more than love or love more than sex?” Damn! I’m getting hot already. Research is categorized and presented in terms of zodiac signs. Regardless, of your sign, your need for physical gratification, or your need for emotional companionship we all need to get this on vinyl!
Each song overlays an astrological reading concerning sex and love on top of some well crafted cannonball jazz. Most is geared towards the female gender, and all of it is sexy. I enjoyed this a lot. It turns out my sign is ruled by Uranus! In addition, I learned that I prefer casual colonoscopies to a decade of cheesy eighties pop. Oh! and there’s a sexy naked lady on the cover. I’ve never met an album with a sexy naked lady on the cover that I didn’t like- so I knew it was going to be awesome!
Tribe sampled “Leo: Rosebud” in “Steppin’ It Up.” The sample is in the intro and immediately recognizable. Other notable samples from this album are from Gang Starr and Large Professor.
George Duke- Faces In Reflection
If metal were a sample based music genre the first song on this album, “The Opening”, would have a bad ass metal breakbeat- hard and fast god damn!!!
In this day and age of streaming, singles, and itunes this album re-invigorates the experience of the album as a form of musical artistic expression as a form all to itself.
After the intense intro of “The Opening” the album moves to the melodic Capricorn, followed by a short transition through the piano solos to the fusion jazz funk of psychosomatic dung (love that name). That climaxes in an incredible drum solo. The rest of the album executes the futuristic, smooth, funky, jazz that is the fusion of George Duke. Ahhh, where have ye been?
Tribe samples “North Beach” in “Midnight”. Surprisingly the album is not heavily sampled. However, Tribe, Pete Rock, and J Dilla all sampled this tune! I think that says something. What? Not sure.. But something.
Weather Report- Mr. Gone
Take a good long hard look at the cover art for this album. Go back. Look again. Stare. You’re not doing it right. Seriously, stare at this album cover for about 90 seconds… That feeling you just got… That is exactly the feeling you get when you listen to this album. It’s abstract AF. You’re not really sure what you are listening to… multifaceted… eclectic… there’s a cigarette burning somewhere in an ashtray… eyes are watching you… you’re going up stairs…. Feel it? Ok, don’t stare too long… it’s mind blowing!!!! Like… literally!
Joking aside this is definitely a little different, definitely a listening experience, and definitely pleasurable (although maybe not all of it entirely at first). If this album had come out 5 years earlier I’d say it was ahead of its time. But, you know… it came out five years after it could have been ahead of its time so I guess it was right on schedule.
The Cyrkle- Neon
I’m not gonna lie. At first I would categorize this as bore rock. Like OMG!! They are whining about love and a girl and fucking shoot me in the face! However, shiiiit! It’s fucking catchy and I kept on wanting to listen to it. So it lacks a particular type of bite, but I think there is something to this record that could even find it acceptance in the modern indie scene- and I mean that in the most positive way imaginable.
Just a note, this is a rock n roll record. It popped right out at me as I was walking through the store on my way to the jazz section. I took that as a good sign. Like the records in the store knew what I was there for and couldn’t wait to fall into my hands!!!
Tribe samples “The Visit” in “Get A Hold.” Yup that chorus type background, that’s The Cyrkle. Right now, I’d say this album stands out as the most different than any other I have written about in this blog series. Makes me wonder who’s album this was in the production crew. It also makes me appreciate the electricity of hip hop. Very few other samples were pulled from this album. Very few from this group in general. Tribe obviously put a lot of time going over the jazz-fusion to satisfy their sampling needs. Hats off for going outside of the safety zone and making it work!