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A primer on groove; first there was Electric Miles, then came The Grateful Dead. Sun Ra came before consciousness. In today’s world toss in some Phish and better yet (much better) I give you the trio of Medeski, Martin and Wood. These touring maniacs have a reputation as groove masters. Thanks to a contract with Blue Note, their funk-smooth-shake your butt rhythms are getting to a jazz audience. Their first BN release Combustication gets further groove treatment by masters of rap and dance beats in a six song remix project. There’s Guru (from Gangstar) mixing and rapping, much the way he did on the only really good jazz/rap fusion album Jazzmattaz. Also heard is the master of beats Bill Laswell, who recently remixed several electric Miles Davis recordings. The remix artists take individual M,M&W tracks and more redirect them than remix. Beats are heavier. But the groove remains. Is it jazz? Well, is it spontaneous creation? Improvisation? As the tee-shirt sez, “Fuck Art, Let’s Dance.”
Track List:Hey-Hee-Hi-Ho (illyB Remix); Whatever Happened To Gus (Guru Remix); Start-Stop (DJ Logic Remix); Nocturne (Automator Remix); Sugar Craft (Yuka Honda Remix); Satan’s Church Of Hypnotized Logic (Bill Laswell Remix).
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.