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Damn, pianist Laurent de Wilde has gone electro! Born in Washington in 1960, de Wilde, grew up in France and now resides in New York. While I was most impressed with Spoon-a-Rhythm (Sony/1997), this latest effort came as a complete surprise. With Time 4 Change, de Wilde joins an ever-growing list of jazz artists who attempt to marry jazz and electronic music, with limited success. De Wilde even went on tour with a drum 'n' bass band (Cosmik Connection) for a year to learn more about the sounds of the contemporary dance floor. Taking its cue from Miles Davis’ electric period and Herbie Hancock’s Headhunter days, Time 4 Change is loaded with an assortment of samples and beats hip-hop, jungle, techno, reggae etc. Every so often, deWilde and sideman Flavio Boltro (trumpet) manage to inject some ‘real’ jazz into the proceedings, but you have to wade through a lot of dross to get to the gold. Many fine players have tried to mix jazz with classical (the so-called ‘Third Stream’) but that experiment never really found its niche. I feel the same way about the confluence of jazz and hip-hop. I understand that jazz record companies are eager to draw young listeners weaned on rap into the fold, but I’ve yet to hear anything of this ilk that’s completely satisfying. Time 4 Change is no exception. ##
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.