Shades of Blue

Shades of Blue

by Madlib
     
 

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As a hip-hop studio rat, Madlib's always been a jazzbo. From the post-bop rhythm section feel of his beats and loops to the one-man electro-fusion records he makes as Yesterdays New Quintet, this West Coast producer is bent on proving jazz's majesty in hip-hop's labyrinth -- without coming off dull or "jazzy." Here, he's got the tools to do so. Shades of Blue,…  See more details below

Overview

As a hip-hop studio rat, Madlib's always been a jazzbo. From the post-bop rhythm section feel of his beats and loops to the one-man electro-fusion records he makes as Yesterdays New Quintet, this West Coast producer is bent on proving jazz's majesty in hip-hop's labyrinth -- without coming off dull or "jazzy." Here, he's got the tools to do so. Shades of Blue, Madlib's Lego-like reconstruction of the Blue Note Records catalog, is the result of a kid messing about in a museum, grabbing leaflets, twisting knobs, asking questions, and coming to conclusions no one's considered before. Part of the time, Madlib remixes and tweaks label classics, bringing a '70s party cool to the fore in Ronnie Foster's minor funk "Mystic Brew" and giving trumpeter Donald Byrd's oft-sampled "Stepping into Tomorrow" a heavy Philly soul groove. Other times, he covers songs under pseudonyms: The Joe McDuphrey Experience, a cut-up keyboard "trio," creates an electric haze from a medley of Horace Silver's "Peace" and Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance," and YNQ presents a swirling, three-percussion reading of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints." What such tracks lose in standard-jazz pacing, they more than make up in a psychedelic hip-hop vibe -- the continuous mix showing off Madlib's skills as player, collagist, DJ, historian. He's turning your grandfather's Blue Note into a whole new bag.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Sam Samuelson
Madlib received a rare opportunity with unfettered access to the storied Blue Note archives and permission to use them as he wished for a remix/interpretation album released on Blue Note itself. The result, Shades of Blue, is really more of a Yesterdays New Quintet album, but Madlib's name is far more recognizable then his alter ego and faux-supergroup, YNQ. So, Shades of Blue features Madlib interpreting and remixing Blue Note classics such as Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" and Gene Harris' "The Look of Slim" (remixed here as "Slim's Return"). Overall, a good time is had by all, as he doesn't just sample the tracks as much as fit them into his own sound. That's why the record would be better compared to the Yesterdays New Quintet debut, Angles Without Edges, where Madlib takes on the personas of numerous instrumentalists (going so far as to credit them individually in the liner notes) and make laid-back break-heavy jams that serve great as background party stuff -- and that's really where Shades of Blue works the best. Intent listening doesn't really give much up, but for smooth subconscious grooves, it's perfect.
Billboard - Rashaun Hall
Part history lesson, part jam session, this disc is a must-have for any true hip-hop or jazz fan.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/17/2003
Label:
Blue Note Records
UPC:
0724353644710
catalogNumber:
36447
Rank:
19445

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