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Alone Together

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 22, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Karriem Riggins is best known as a jazz drummer and hip-hop producer for artists like Common, Slum Village, Talib Kweli and The Roots, but he doesn t categorize himself as anything but an artist. He advises younger musicians to do the same.

You don t have to put yourself in a box...there s so many different ways to go, Riggins says. A student of late jazz bassist Ray Brown, he tours with another Brown protégé, Grammy Award winner Diana Krall. In 2011, he collaborated with former Beatle Paul McCartney in concert and on Kisses on the Bottom, McCartney s first studio release in five years. Names of some of the jazz artists he s backed reads like the genre s hall of fame - Hank Jones, Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Donald Byrd and Ron Carter.

But on his solo debut Alone Together, release on Stones Throw Records, Riggins plants himself firmly as a hip-hop producer with a 34-track instrumental odyssey through nearly every influence on his career thus far. The project was inspired by much of the music he was creating while living in Los Angeles, and also by the love of his son and family.

Now residing in his native Detroit, Riggins is back where it all began. I feel like I can really breath and stay inspired here, and I have room to set up my lab and be creative, he says. This is the rationale behind the title Alone Together, taken from a jazz standard written by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz that begin with the words, Alone together, above the crowd.

Coming back to the machines, I feel like I can really express myself, Riggins says. This is the way that I express my rhythms.

Machines, however, are just one way he expresses his rhythms. Midway through the album, the track Water is interrupted by a vocal snippet where the speaker places Riggins right at the intersection of hip-hop and jazz. Alone Together is that intersection; it s the jazz music he s played professionally since the age of 19, and it s crafting beats like Africa on an MPC5000 while touring throughout Eastern Europe and Russia.

I need the balance, Riggins says, of working with the likes of Krall and McCartney, and also being able to go back to the studio and create hip-hop. Without that, I couldn t be who I am.

Songs on Alone Together range from 14 seconds to a little over three minutes, and are the essence of man vs. machine. When Riggins channels Elvin Jones on the album s climax and tribute to his longtime friend, J Dilla the Greatest, his tools are a Gretsch drum kit, the Fender Rhodes and an MPC3000. As versed as he is in jazz and pop, the machines will always be at the root until the next thing.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 22, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Stones Throw
  • ASIN: B008R9QARI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,056 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Karriem Riggins Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 30, 2013
Format: Audio CD
I took a flier on this album, seeing it in the "jazz" section at my local library (Karriem Riggins built his reputation as a jazz drummer, among other things). I saw the 30+ something track listing and curiousity got the better of me, so I picked it up. Am I ever glad I did!

"Alone Together" (34 tracks; 54 min.) starts off with a short introduction that seems to come from the 1960s funk-soul era, and then we are off to the races. as Riggins brings us a mix of jazz, electro, hip-hop and much else. Check out the delightful 45 sec. track "Oooooooooaaaaaaa", which oozes charm and beats at the same time. Likewise with the 39 sec. track "Orbiiz" (reminding me of early Neon Indian). The longest song on here is the 3'14" track "Ding Dong Bells" (the last half of it is actually just some musicians discussing things). It's diifficult to point out highlights as such, as this plays as one long mix-tape and most songs are in the 1 to 2 min. range, not that there is anything wrong with that, on the contrary.

The variety of sounds on this album is nothing short of dazzling, and I have been surprised how much I've been playing this album in recent weeks, I simply can't get enough of it. Had I found out about this album earlier, it surely would've make my "best of" albums list for 2012. Better late than never, I suppose. Bottom line: "Alone Together" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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By Brenin on February 23, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
i think the cover is deceiving. I wanted to again support Stones Throw, glad i did. This album is dope. You also get both "alone" and "together" whereas they are usually sold separately. Very good album. If you like instrumental albums, Dilla, apollo brown.....you should get this.
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By Dabear on February 18, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
A real treat. Few people can put it all together like karriem riggins. Been a fan for many years. You will enjoy this album
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I like drummers tht bring a diffrnt style to the table Chris Dave my favorite bt I'm always lookn an I knw for sure Kareem brng a aspect I like on drums
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