by J. Spencer


Item is available through our marketplace sellers.



When J. Spencer's debut album, Chimera, came out in 1993, Mojazz/Motown exalted the Oakland saxophonist as one of the people fearlessly bridging the gap between jazz and hip-hop. But truth be told, Chimera is more hip-hop than jazz -- this is essentially an album of rap with jazz overtones. And that certainly doesn't make it bad, although it does mean that the CD should be judged by hip-hop standards instead of jazz standards. Chimera, quite honestly, doesn't have a jazz mentality. Improvisation and spontaneity are the things that make jazz what it is -- that's what Al DiMeola has in common with Django Reinhardt -- and Chimera sounds produced rather than improvisatory and spontaneous. The rappers who Spencer features are really the main attraction; the soprano saxman doesn't get enough room to stretch out and he ends up sounding like a sideman on his own album (to borrow a phrase from keyboardist Jeff Lorber). If you want to hear how different saxophonists can do radically different things with rap, just compare Chimera to some of the albums that saxman Bill Evans (not to be confused with the famous pianist) recorded in the '90s. When Evans featured rappers on some of his '90s albums, he maintained a jazz mentality -- MCs were expected to interact with a spontaneous, improvising fusion band just as a jazz singer would interact with such a band. For Evans, featuring rappers was a lot like a hard bopper featuring Abbey Lincoln; Chimera, however, is really about technology rather than improvisation. But again, that doesn't automatically make it a bad album. Some of the tracks are mundane and pedestrian, but more often that not Chimera is a decent (if imperfect) example of alternative rap with jazz overtones.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/21/1993
Label: Motown
UPC: 0737463700429
catalogNumber: 7004

Album Credits

Performance Credits

J. Spencer   Primary Artist,Soprano Saxophone,Rap
Bobby Martin   Strings
Wild Bill Davis   Vocals
Elijah Baker   Bass
Kitty Beethoven   Vocals,Background Vocals
Tommy Bradford   Drums
Brian Collier   Drums
Paulinho Da Costa   Percussion
Mike D   Rap
Ephraim Galloway   Vocals
Derrick Hall   Synthesizer,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Terrance Hatter   Synthesizer,Percussion,Drums,Keyboards
Ricky Lawson   Drums
Wayne Lindsey   Keyboards
Tony Maiden   Guitar
Kevin Matthew   Keyboards
Frank McComb   Keyboards
Bill Ortiz   Trumpet
P-Funk   Rap
Richard Patterson   Bass
Jim Pugh   Vocals
John Jubu Smith   Guitar
Norbert Stachel   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Carl Wheeler   Clarinet,Clavinet
W. Amar the Wizard Wilkins   Rap
James Pugh   Vocals
William Davis   Vocals
Vitamin C   Rap
Kevin Matthews   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Bobby Martin   Contributor
Elijah Baker   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Dennis Belfield   Composer
Jonathan Clark   Artwork
Brian Collier   Contributor
Mike D   Composer
Derrick Hall   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer,drum programming
Terrance Hatter   Composer,Programming,Producer,drum programming,Percussion Programming
Odeen Mays   Programming
Steve McKeever   Arranger,Producer
Tony Mills   Engineer
P-Funk   Composer
J. Spencer   Composer,Producer
Carlos Stanfield   Producer
W. Amar the Wizard Wilkins   Composer
David "Hawk" Wolinski   Composer
Dave Holmes   Engineer
Vitamin C   Composer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews