Friday, October 31, 2008

Jazzanova does Soul

Yea, I know what you're thinking...Jazzanova, sounds like a retro cover band that you can catch playing in a shag carpeted room at a Howard Johnson's someplace in New Jersey on a Tuesday night. The truth of the matter though is the group is a sextet of DJs hailing from Berlin. They joined together way back in 1995, and now, thirteen years later, they've released their second full length album of new original material. Yea, you did the math right...two LPs in thirteen years. (OK, I'll admit they've released a few remix albums as well, but it's still rather jaw dropping)

It's titled Of All the Things, it came out earlier this month, and its twelve tracks offer a wide range of notes and styles. The group has brought in eleven vocalists and paired them with cuts that exhibit their vocal chops. The texture of the tracks varies, although there's a strong soul presence here that draws upon the smooth Philly sound (Let Me Show Ya - the album's stand-out track featuring Paul Randolph), Motown (Rockin' You Eternally), a seemingly long lost Bill Withers' cut (Joe Dukie on What Do You Want?) and later 70's progressive jazz as the album comes to a close (Lucky Girl) along with some Latin lightness (Gafiera). Then there's the stark beauty of Little Bird, a track that reminds of me of Antony and the Johnsons, and the hip-hop word play of So Far From Home, which kicks out a soul line in the background to keep in the spirit of the album going.

Once you hear the album you'll realize that the group's sound has evolved (as you might expect) since their first. If you listen to the first couple tracks and skip to the last few, you'll be scratching your head wondering who switched the disc on you. But listen to it from beginning to end and you'll be amazed how it transforms itself with the help of eleven different vocalists.

And an older one:

Visit their website, their label Verve Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this album. Pretty different from their previous ones but I love the direction of where this is going.