298

Too Blue Lou and the Groove: The Birth of Hip Bop

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
Too Blue Lou and the Groove: The Birth of Hip Bop Not all attempts to blend jazz with rap are successful. Often, it's R&B or hip-hop packaged in a way that fools people into thinking it is jazz when it isn't. Once in a while, a merger of these genres works. The Birth of Hip Bop, by Too Blue Lou and the Groove, is one such merger.

This small ensemble describes itself as a unique blend of groove-oriented improvisation, scat vocals and rap, played over heavy beats and a traditional walking bass. The group is led by Lou Montelione on keyboards and vocals.

With Eric Huff on sax, Daisuke Abe on guitar and Roy Weinberger on drums, "Never Gonna Give Up" sets the tone. Huff leads with a funky jazz sax style similar to that of Maceo Parker. Abe then contributes a slick guitar solo. Montelione follows with a freestyle keyboard solo. The song has a cool bass line as well, but there is no credit given for a bassist. Guest artist Mike Aidoo contributes a rap near the end of the song; he also sings and scats.

"Hip Bop & Scappy" might also be called slap-happy. This finger-snapping, toe-tapping groove features each member of the quartet prominently. Huff wails like Sanborn and Abe, Montelione and Weinberger get their solos in too. When all four are playing, they're a tight unit, with the other musicians complementing Huff's lead. Montelione joins Huff with a vocal scat toward the end.

"Blue in Green," covering a Bill Evans/Miles Davis tune, has a happy blues feel to it. The band swings behind Huff's lead. All the players make it seem as though they're playing for the simple joy of playing—a characteristic present in several songs.

All eight songs are near or above the six-minute mark, giving the musicians plenty of time to play. Oddly, that's the album's one glaring weakness. Several tracks seem to go on too long after the solos. The melodies are repeated ad infinitum before a vocal scat or rap sets up the endings. It's at this point where Montelione, Abe or Huff should ad-lib more, like the end of a Steely Dan song. Apart from that, The Birth of Hip Bop, as the saying goes, is all good.


Track Listing: Never Gonna Give Up; Nardis; Hip Bop & Scappy; Groove One for Fun; That Situation; Stella By Starlight; Ode to Knee Deep; Blue in Green.

Personnel: Lou Montelione: keyboards, vocals (3, 4, 7); Eric Huff: alto and soprano sax; Daisuke Abe: guitar; Roy Weinberger: drums; Mike Aidoo: rap (1, 7), vocals (1).

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Jazzheads | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Cada Fuego Es El Primero" CD/LP/Track Review Cada Fuego Es El Primero
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Back Home" CD/LP/Track Review Back Home
by Mark F. Turner
Published: May 6, 2016
Read "Sunshine Seas" CD/LP/Track Review Sunshine Seas
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 22, 2016
Read "The Way You Say It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way You Say It
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "A Matter Of Instinct" CD/LP/Track Review A Matter Of Instinct
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 20, 2016
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!