Of All The Things
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Of All The Things
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|Audio CD, October 21, 2008||
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Mentored by Giles Peterson, the six member Berlin-based DJ collective Jazzanova has created a compelling fusion of musical genres on their 2008 studio album, Of All The Things. Jazzanova has built a strong and loyal following among DJs, musicians, and music fans around the globe. They have leant their talents to a diverse roster of artists including Lenny Kravitz, Common, Azymuth, and Calexico. Jazzanova set out to compose an album that is interconnected, composing each track, recording live vocals and instrumentals, selecting and creating samples from tracks already created for this album. Featured vocalists include Leon Ware, Dwele, Phonte, Paul Randolph, Ben Westbeech, Jose James, and more. Jazzanova is: Alexander Barck, Claas Brieler, Jrgen von Knoblauch, Roskow Kretschmann, Stefan Leisering, and Axel Reinemer
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language: : English
- Product Dimensions : 5.6 x 4.93 x 0.41 inches; 3.95 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Verve
- SPARS Code : DDD
- Date First Available : September 21, 2008
- Label : Verve
- ASIN : B001FBJTYQ
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #339,358 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
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The unifying sound here harkens back to the mid-seventies--lush strings and horns, energetic beats, itchy guitars, soulful harmonies and soaring lead vocals. Some may feel that this more closely resembles Gnarls Barkley than previous Jazzanova disks, but this album could have come from no one else. A sensitive ear will recognize the Jazzanova sound buried deep within the mix. But this album isn't so much about the Jazzanova sound. It's about the songs. And the songs are wonderful--with terrific performances and fine writing.
And while this may lack some of the in-your-face dynamics and energy of the remix albums or the "In Between" CD, this new offering has a heart and soul unlike anything Jazzanova has ever done before.
Of all the eras in the history of soul music they could have catapulted us into--`60s Motown, early-'80s garage, `70s quiet storm R&B--they've chosen all of them. Jazzanova play kickball with decade-divided genres as though the lines between them simply didn't exist, seamlessly moving from hip-hop to funk to quiet storm to MOR urban jazz, all going back in a direct line to Sam Cooke and the Isley Brothers. If Of All the Things is the `60s, `70s, `80s and `90s rolled into one, the production positively effulges with the vitality of the 21st century. What could have been a dusty old time capsule is instead a celebration of the music that has guided us to where we find ourselves now.
Of all the elements they could have squelched this time around, they've decided to downplay the beatwork. It's a risky move, considering that complex rhythms were their debut's featured attraction, and one listen to the drums on "L.O.V.E. and You & I", "Soon" and "Another New Day" from In Between is enough to cause temporary paralysis. But if Jazzanova had to 86 the maddening beatwork in order to give the more melodic components the floor, so be it. Of All the Things is a rich, bafflingly mellifluous listen, the lines of instrumentation mixed so perfectly that you'll wonder if there's an electronic producer's hall of fame that Jazzanova could be inducted into somewhere. To use "What Do You Want?" as an exemplar, pay attention to how a slippery, Ndegeocello-esque bass underpins the song and tilts it onto a slant, and how the least cheesy violins in the history of nu-jazz provide beautifully conceived accents and counterpoints to singer Joe Dukie's primary melody. There are about 15 different things going on in "What Do You Want?", and every single one of them complements something else and contributes to the success of the final product. So, sorry; there just isn't any room for In Between`s beat bonanza around these parts.
Of all the singers and collaborators they could have chosen to work with, they've selected those who align with the songs based on feel alone, regardless of star power or even artistic merit. No will.i.ams, Kanye Wests or Beyoncés; instead, Jazzanova have mined a wealth of diverse, largely underground musicians to bring their concept to fruition. Phonte of the Foreign Exhange lends his pipes to both "Look What You're Doin' to Me" (as a singer) and "So Far from Home" (as a rapper); he's not the most acrobatic of vocalists, but he understands what the songs require of him and fits inside the music like a hand into a glove. Thief's Sascha Gottschalk, with his earthy tenor, couldn't have been a better choice for the jaunty violin piece "Lie" that plays--at least instrumentally--like an alternate version of "Eleanor Rigby". Newcomer Paul Randolph takes the prize with the two best cuts here, lending his dexterous, rangy croon to the feel-good funk party "Let Me Show Ya" and the exploded elevator bossa of "Lucky Girl". And while "Rockin' You Eternally", featuring Dwele and vintage Motown singer Leon Ware, isn't the most stunning moment on the disc, it's possibly the sweetest: Ware and Dwele perform a call-and-response duet over the music that one pioneered and the other salvaged--old and new, past and present, walking side-by-side.
Of all the ideals Jazzanova could have striven for on their first album since the Paleozoic era (2001), they aimed and shot at...economy. Hardly the hour-plus opus that In Between was, Of All the Things packs a mind-boggling array of ideas into its 12 brief, wholly digestible songs. Not since Stereolab's Emperor Tomato Ketchup in 1996 has a pop record thrown so much at the wall while sounding so divinely simple. How strange that Jazzanova's latest appears so underwhelming on paper: a retro soul album of modest length, without complicated rhythms, big stars, or signposts that point to where electronica is ultimately headed. But the highlights (and there are many) don't lie: this is an excellent record, one that's beaten the odds and flipped our expectations, and it sounds--of all things--absolutely triumphant.
(This was published in PopMatters on 12/5/08)
This is not the Jazzanova you know. If you enjoyed Jazzanova's earlier work, you'll find this CD does not sound like Jazzanova at all. This CD is 1960's Soul/R&B but cut in 2008. I'm not going to say it's bad, there is allot of talent in the cuts. But it is devoid of what you would expect. I just posted mine for sale used; I didn't expect this music & will have to be more careful in the future.
If your new to Jazzanova, don't judge them by this CD. Audition some of their earlier work to get a feel for what this very talented group was once about.
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Groove on down to it