Def Jazz

Def Jazz

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Def Jazz

The '90s and early to mid-2000s saw quite a few projects that claimed to be fusing hip-hop and jazz. Most of them ended up being more hip-hop than jazz, although saxophonist Bill Evans (as opposed to the late pianist) was an impressive exception. When Evans featured various rappers in the '90s, he maintained an improviser's mentality and used MCs in much the same way he would have used a jazz singer -- he forced them to interact with a real, honest-to-God, spontaneity-minded band instead of simply giving them electronic tracks to rap over. This compilation doesn't unite jazz improvisers with a lot of rappers -- actually, most of the tunes are instrumental -- but it finds jazz improvisers paying tribute to hip-hop (and, to a lesser degree, R&B) with fairly creative results at times. Def Jazz isn't as consistent as it could have been; some of the tracks are routine, pedestrian smooth jazz. But the album's most interesting tracks are definitely worth talking about. "Hey, Young World," which features saxman Gerald Albright, is a real winner; the reggae-influenced gem was originally recorded by rapper Slick Rick in 1988 (a few years before he went to prison), and on Def Jazz, it works enjoyably well as a pop-jazz instrumental. The same goes for performances of Method Man's "Bring the Pain" (which features flutist Hubert Laws) and Public Enemy's "Give It Up"; they aren't the first tunes one would expect jazz instrumentalists (even pop-jazz instrumentalists) to embrace, but Tony Joseph (the project's producer) demonstrates that hardcore rap tunes can, in fact, be reinvented as instrumental crossover jazz. Instrumental versions of LL Cool J's "Doin' It" and Foxy Brown's "Get U Home" aren't terribly memorable, but singer Oran "Juice" Jones has some inspired moments when he revisits his 1986 hit "The Rain" and provides the album's only urban
eo-soul vocal offering. Again, Def Jazz has its share of missteps, but the ups outnumber the downs and make this a CD that is generally worth exploring if you're the sort of eclectic listener who holds hip-hop and jazz in equally high regard.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/09/2005
Label: Grp Records
UPC: 0602498828779
catalogNumber: 000489002
Rank: 164324

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Oran "Juice" Jones   Vocals,Rap
Gerald Albright   Saxophone
Roy Hargrove   Trumpet
Hubert Laws   Flute
Dwight Sills   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Jeff Lorber   Piano,Moog Synthesizer,Vibes,Wurlitzer
Kevin Toney   Moog Synthesizer,Vibes,Wurlitzer
Alex Al   Electric Bass
Rick Braun   Trumpet
Joey DeFrancesco   Hammond Organ
Scott Mayo   Saxophone
Kevin O'Neal   Bass
Tony Joseph   Percussion
Audra Bryant   Vocals

Technical Credits

Kevin Toney   String Arrangements
S. Barnes   Composer
Bud Harner   Executive Producer,Drum Fills
Scott Mayo   Horn Arrangements,Saxophone Arrangement,Flute Arrangement
M. Thomas   Composer
Frank Morrison   Illustrations
Ron Goldstein   Executive Producer
Hollis King   Art Direction
Tony Joseph   Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,drum programming,Audio Production
Alvertis Isbell   Composer
J.D. Horton   Composer
Audra Bryant   Vocal Arrangements
A.Mays   Composer
Paul Litterall   Horn Arrangements,Trumpet Arrangement

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Def Jazz 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're into hip-hop and R&B and you never really gave Jazz a chance then "Def Jazz" is for you and worth a try. The album compromises of previously released re-composed hip-hop and R&B tracks from artists like Slick Rick, LL Cool J, Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige just to name a few and fuse together to form a smooth, rich and exciting album. I love every track on the CD. So if you're thinking about purchasing "Def Jazz" go on ahead - it's worth it.