This slammin' two-CD compilation collects works from the fabulous acid jazz compilations Home Cookin'
, Mo Cookin'
, Still Cookin'
, What's Cookin'
, and Is That Jazz?
, DJ Swingset, Sharpshooters
and others contribute midlength jams that are a mix of soulful melodies, deep funk grooves, hip-hop beats, and rump-shaking dance music. While jazz has been influential in certain drum & bass circles since the late-'90s, these early-'90s neofusion hybrids serve as logical precursors and illuminate how well the artists on the set also serve the jam-band fans who've crossed over to improvised jazz largely on the strengths of funkateers like Medeski Martin & Wood
and others. Even so, the tracks here sound incredibly fresh and fun, mixing live instruments and DJs for a party where everyone is playing spiritedly. At home on the dance floor or in the cocktail lounge, The Best of Cookin'
is a fine reminder of the potency of acid jazz and a great introduction for electronic music fans who are interested in seeing a crucial early bridge between the jazz and DJ culture. --Tad Hendrickson