Good luck finding this one in your local store. Since Bay Area distributor Nu Gruv Alliance recently went under, this forward thinking hip hop crew may be left high and dry with no distribution. But if you come across a copy of Deep Water Slang in the used section of the record store, or even on Ebay, it’s a no-brainer to pick it up. Following up their excellent debut Mind Over Matter in 2000, Zion I drop Deep Water Slang and are still one of the freshest sounding crews around. They combine precise lyrical acuity with a palette of production influences from ragga to drum n bass and electronica. Their tracks always contain a futuristic edge beneath their neck-snapping funk. Check the space age sound effects on "Cheeba Cheeba" (which also features fellow lyrical contortionist, Aceyalone), the Eastern inspired instrumentation on "Kharma" and the futuristic dancehall of "A.E.I.O.U." Zion I impress with sheer honesty and urgency. “I memorize all my trauma and then record it. It’s all live, never been Memorex” declares MC Zion on "Kharma". This impassioned manifesto permeates their style from the spiritually inclined and soulful "Flow" to the candid "Sorry" showing their ability to navigate the world with a thoughtful eye, and still make it fit into a hip-hop context. Deep Water Slang shows that Zion I are still way ahead of the game.
Year Released: 2002
| Record Label: Live Up Records
| Style: Beyond Jazz
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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