Riding the burgeoning wave of enthusiasm for horny, salacious music sparked by the Academy Award-winning rap song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp from the movie Hustle and Flow
, a number of smooth jazz's brightest stars have produced a remarkably soporific new album, Streetwalkin' Blues
, using a hybrid musical style they've labeled Contemporary Rap and Porn (CRAP).
While not every member of the Jive-Ass All-Stars plays on every track, the group encompasses half a dozen saxophones, flute, guitar, steel pans, piano, bass and a vocal trio. "The instrumentation may seem a bit unusual, says producer Slick Willie Clanton, "but when it comes to playing CRAP, trust me, no one can touch this group. There's a reason for that, adds self-effacing saxophone colossus Kenny G: "The fact is, we've been playing CRAP for a long time now, but only our devoted fans are aware of that. What we'd like to do with this album is widen the audience and spread the CRAP around, so to speak.
To help do that, the group has enlisted the services of the Oscar-winning rappers themselvesJordan Houston, Cedric Coleman, Paul Beauregardwhose sing-song cadences and bogus enthusiasm quickly erase any doubt that they are full of CRAP. The trio is especially banal on such mega-hits from the 'hood as "Humpin' Till the Pimps Come Home, "Suck on This, You (Bleepin') Bitch, the heartwarming ode to the pleasure of sharing titled "Gimme Some Grass or I'll Kick Your (Bleepin') Ass, and the tender and ever-popular entreaty, "Spread 'Em, Ho', Else I'll Whack You with a Two-by-Fo'.
While that should be enough to please any music lover, the pseudo-pious sludgemeisters don't neglect the Great American Songbook, cheerfully disfiguring a number of formerly memorable standards including "How Deep Is the (Bleepin') Ocean, "Let's Do It (Doggie-Style), "(Bleep) for Sale, the gut-wrenching "I Lost My Ho' in San Francisco, the merry "Ding Dong the Pimp is Dead, "(Bleep) Me Five Minutes More, "Stalkin' My Baby Back Home, "They Can't Take Shit Away from Me and "I've Got My (Bleep) to Keep Me Warm.
There are two instrumentals, "Everybody Luvs My Bunny and "The Mo' I Bang You, and as is customary in smooth jazz, the saxophones are indistinguishable, so there's no point in appraising individual performances except to observe that at one point Kenny G holds a single note for an incredible 9:47, ending it only after a muffled thud that sounds much like someone being kicked in the groin, which is followed immediately by a clearly audible moan.
With no drummer in the group, it's up to Andy Narell (steel pans), bassist Gerald Veasley and guitarists Earl Klugh, Lee Ritenour or Kurt Rosenwinkel to shoulder the rhythmic load. "That was our decision, says Clanton. "We know plenty of drummers who play CRAP, but they can be pretty loud, and we wouldn't want anyone to be offended by that. This music speaks to the heart, to the soul, and primitive drum beats can sometimes interfere with the uplifting message we're trying to convey. What we wantedand what I think we gotwas pure unadulterated CRAP.
Even though many of the All-Stars hadn't performed together before, there's no doubt they've reached that goal. This is CRAP so pungent it almost defies description, and Streetwalkin' Blues should have no trouble going platinum. Word on the street is that the group is already planning a followup, It's Hard Out Here for a Transvestite Junkie Pimp on Crack, Meth, Speed and Steroids.
Track Listing: Ding Dong the Pimp Is Dead; I Lost My Ho
Personnel: Dave Koz, Kenny G, Kirk Whalum, Boney James, David Sanborn, Nelson Rangell: reeds; Najee:
flute; Earl Klugh, Lee Ritenour, Kurt Rosenwinkel: guitar; Andy Narell: steel pans; David
Benoit, Brian Cutlbertson, Bob James, Jeff Lorber: piano; Gerald Veasley: bass. Special guests:
Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard: largely incoherent (but extremely
Year Released: 2006
| Record Label: UpYerz
| Style: Fringes of Jazz