everybodydigs#68 Donald Byrd – Stepping Into Tomorrow

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everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!

Beginning with a crack of thunder, like it was made to trail Gary Bartz’s “Mother Nature” (actually recorded at a slightly later date), Stepping into Tomorrow contains almost all of the Mizell trademarks within its title track’s first 30 seconds: a soft and easy (yet still funky) electric-bass-and-drums foundation, silken rhythm guitar, organ and piano gently bouncing off one another, light synthesizer shading, and coed group vocals to ensure true liftoff. It’s only one in a line of many magnetic ’70s sessions led by Fonce and Larry Mizell, and it differs from their two previous Donald Byrd dates — the polarizing and groundbreaking Black Byrd and the deceptively excellent Street Lady — by not featuring any of Roger Glenn’s flute, and by focusing on heavily melodic and laid-back arrangements. Even the speedy “You Are the World,” by some distance the most energetic song, seems more suited for relaxing in a hammock than shooting down a freeway. Many of the musicians present on the previous Byrd-Mizell meetings are here, including drummer Harvey Mason, bassist Chuck Rainey, keyboardist Jerry Peters, and guitarist David T. Walker. As ever, those who pined for the approach of Byrd’s ’60s dates would tune out a sublime set of material, but maybe some of those who sniffed at the straightforward nature of some of the rhythms and riffing were won over by the supreme layering of the many components (the way in which “Think Twice” lurches forward, peels back, and gathers steam is nothing short of heavenly), not to mention some deeply evocative playing from Byrd himself.

Rappamelo’s favorite track:

everybodydigs#67 Herbie Hancock – My Point of View

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everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!

In this 1963 recording session, pianist Herbie Hancock had a chance to work with a septet that could highlight his burgeoning skills as an arranger and composer. With Hancock’s inventive sense of voicings already defined, it’s a happy mix of inspired charts and spirited blowing that fuses the hard bop of trumpeter Donald Byrd and tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley with the bluesy approach of guitarist Grant Green and Hancock’s own fluent soloing and incisive comping. Also notable is the explosive young drummer Tony Williams, who was already showing the distinctive fire that would soon ignite Miles Davis’s band. The track “Blind Man, Blind Man” is a funky romp that clearly builds on Hancock’s remarkable success with the earlier “Watermelon Man” and is a harbinger of the pop success he’d later enjoy with the Headhunters. –Stuart Broomer

Personnel: Herbie Hancock (vocals, piano); Grant Green (guitar); Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone); Donald Byrd (trumpet); Grachan Moncur III (trombone); Tony Williams (drums).

Rappamelo’s favorite track:

everybodydigs#66 Donald Byrd – A New Perspective

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everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!

Blue Note seldom ventured far from the spontaneity of small-group jazz, but they put special resources into this 1963 project, letting trumpeter Donald Byrd and arranger Duke Pearson achieve some stunning results with a septet and the voices of the Coleridge Perkinson Choir. Gospel and blues influences had become more prominent in jazz through the work of Horace Silver and Cannonball Adderley, but Byrd explored the connection further here, combining the rich and wordless voices with a potent rhythm section, fluent soloists, and his own brassily declarative trumpet in an authentic and compelling way. Donald Best’s bell-like vibraphone and Kenny Burrell’s soulful guitar further emphasize the music’s wealth of associations. The moods vary from the declamatory power of “Elijah” to the deep blues of “Beast of Burden” and the luminous hymn of Pearson’s celebrated “Cristo Redentor” (a little-recognized master of jazz composition, Pearson also wrote “Idle Moments” for a Grant Green session), but the tunes are all realized with energy and feeling. The band seems to take special inspiration from the choir’s carpet of sound, and tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley and pianist Herbie Hancock also make substantial contributions. The session has always sounded fantastic, but Rudy Van Gelder’s remastering has added even greater luster. –Stuart Broomer

Rappamelo’s favorite track:

sampleecious#5

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sampleecious#: a post every Friday where i choose just one great track sampled for one or more other great tracks, also you can listen to (when it’s possible) a small preview on the video below, enjoy!

#5: “To The Other Man” by Luther Ingram from “I’ve Been Here All The Time” released in 1972 > sampled in > “Gobstopper” by J Dilla from “Donuts” released in 2006.

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J Dilla “Gone Too Soon” (BBC 1Xtra Documentary)

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Happy Birthday J Dilla! this is a beautiful documentary that covers his life and career, originally released as part of  “Gone Too Soon series” by Benji B, stream and download at the bottom, enjoy!

It’s a name you might not recognise – but you’ll certainly know his music… James Dewitt Yancey, Jay Dee or more commonly known as J Dilla, is one of hip hop’s most influential producers and artists, but his genius was cut short at 32 after battling the incurable blood disease, lupus.

As part of the Gone Too Soon series, Benji B presents this 1Xtra story celebrating the incredible music J Dilla created during his lifetime which includes tracks for Janet Jackson, Busta Rhymes, Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, The Pharcyde and De La Soul to name but a few.

Through interviews with Plug 2 from De La Soul, Mos Def, Questlove from The Roots, Common, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, J.Rocc, Slum Village members T3 and Wajeed, his brother Illa J and his incredible mum, Ma Dukes, we learn about how he made those beats, what he was like as a person and the legacy he left behind. Benji also pays his own tribute to the man he knew for almost ten years and is his favourite producer of all time.

DOWNLOAD!

J Dilla “Dewitt To Do It”

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February is Dilla Month and this is “Dewitt To Do It” one of the four previously unreleased tracks from the new posthumous release entitled “The Lost Scrolls Vol 1″ available now on special 10″ via Fat Beats, it’s just a remix of “Shake It Down” released on “Welcome To Detroit” but it’s good! stream below, enjoy!