Ropeadope Records CD 93041-2, 2001 (60:56)
Glenn Brooks, 2 August 2001
The Bronx bomber, DL Logic, is quickly establishing himself as a turntablist with a real respect for the sounds of the past as well as the future. His second album is a welcome anomaly in the way it successfully integrates hip-hoppery with jazz-like improvisation. The result honors the funk jazz of the sixties and seventies while staying true to the mixological present.
The core band, Project Logic, is the base for this mix, but they have some heavyweight help. Recently, Mr. Logic (as the New York Times would say) helped out on Medeski Martin and Woods' excursion at the border of jazz, Combustication. Here, John Medeski repays the debt with tasty keyboard work on several of the tunes. Other jazz folks on board include trumpeter Ron Miles and percussionist Mino Cinelu. Ax-master Vernon Reid keeps the guitar faith.
The tunes are pretty much for real, with good grooves and lots of inventiveness. Medeski, on Hammond organ, helps kick off the album with "French Quarter," four minutes of a swampy stew in the best Nawlins tradition. "Soul-Kissing" is a sweet sexy thang with lovely violin work by Miri Ben-Ari floating over a house beat. "Hip-Hopera" has Marie Claire singing operatic lines over turntable scratches, and it's a genuine kick. Miles Davis is the guiding light on at least two tunes, directly or indirectly. "Bean-e-man" revitalizes a Bernie Maupin groove from Herbie Hancock's 1972 album Crossings, while "Miles Away" is Vernon Reid's take on what the black prince would be playing today if he were still around to point the tall man at everyone.
Some of the solos lack stories to tell. A couple of the tunes fade away into the jungle with no sense of direction. So it's not a masterpiece - big deal. This album creams the recent Headhunters reunion gig (see our review). It is a truly solid acid jazz (or whatever you want to call it) album, which shows that the hip-hop esthetic may be yet another direction for jazz to follow in its quest. Logic be damned: this album cooks. Appropriately, it is also available as a two-LP set, with a bonus tune and even better sound than the CD, to my ears.
Project Logic DJ Logic, turntables, effects, scratches, beats; Casey Benjamin, EWI, flute, Rhodes organ, saxophones; Stephen Robertson, drums; Mike Weitman, keyboards; Scott Palmer, bass
Melvin Gibbs, bass, guitar; Scott Harding,; John Medeski, Hammond organ, Clavinet, string synth; Marie Claire, vocals; Mino Cinelu, percussion; Vernon Reid, guitar, instruments, programming; Ron Miles, trumpet; Eric Krasno, guitar, bass; Suphala, tablas; Miri Ben-Arai, violin; Deantoni Parks, drums; Brian Carrot, vibes, balafon; Felix Sanabria, percussion; Chris Kelly, drums; Baba Israel, didjerridoo; Subconcious, vocals; Steve Cannon, words; Graham Haynes, trumpet; Avenda, vocals (LP only)
songs French Quarter · Black Buddah · Ron's House · Michelle · Frequency One · Tih Gnob · Bean-e-man · Who Am I? · Soul-Kissing · Afronautical · The Project(s) · Hip-Hopera · An Interlude · Miles Away · Drone ·
of related interest
Medeski Martin and Wood
Combustication, Blue Note CD, 1998