Playlist – 05 March 2014: Jazz/not jazz?

Click the Mixcloud link on this page to hear some jazz surprises in this week’s show. Do not look at the artists on the playlist below and move away… The show is about artists and tunes that are not always associated with jazz. Believe me though, this show is about solid JAZZ.

It starts with a hip-hop/jazz introduction from Guru and later includes a jazz version of a hip-hop tune from rapper Common’s album Be – it’s from Japanese group Indigo Jam Unit,  The original tune on the Common album begins with a strong jazzy bass line and the whole Common album is up there among my top favourites. Everyone should hear it.

British singer Zara McFarlane covers the Junior Murvin/Lee Scratch Perry reggae tune Police and Thieves  in a jazz style, on her new album If You Knew Her. Cosmic Jazz will feature more from this album in the coming weeks.

To many, Norman Connors, George Benson and Patrice Rushen are associated with disco/r’n’b/soul, yet all have solid jazz roots. Check the wonderful George Benson guitar solo on Freddie Hubbard’s First Light, a Cosmic Jazz evergreen. Patrice Rushen, in her first two albums Prelusion and Before Dawn (both available on one CD from Prestige) played jazz, albeit with funk inflections at times. One of her guests on Prelusion, which she recorded as a 20 year old, was none other than Joe Henderson. She also played with Abbey Lincoln, played and recorded with Jean-Luc Ponty and recorded with Sonny Rollins.

Norman Connors recorded the wonderful Dance of Magic in 1972. It is an extended twenty-one minute expression of freedom, spirituality and magic, as the title suggests. The tune features solos by Carlos Garnett, Eddie Henderson, Gary Bartz and Herbie Hancock in that order. Prior to this record Connors had played with Marion Brown, Archie Shepp, Jackie McLean, Pharaoh Sanders and freelanced with Sun Ra and Sam Rivers. Not a bad list of jazz contacts!

There was a brief moment at the end of Yusef Lateef as someone who epitomised the spirit of musical fusion which permeated the show.

  1. Guru – Introduction from Guru’s Jazzmatazz Vol 1
  2. Zara McFarlane – Police and Thieves from If You Knew Her
  3. Norman Connors Dance of Magic from Dance of Magic
  4. George Benson – You Can Do It (Baby) from NuYorican Soul
  5. Patrice Rushen – Traverse from Prelusion
  6. Indigo Jam Unit – Be from Re: Common
  7. Yusef Lateef – Chandra from The Diverse Yusef Lateef

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