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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. ##
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.