Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ann Peebles "Tellin' It"

On my other blog, I’ve made repeated comments about the fact that I enjoy soul music. This right here is the epitome of that. Ann Peebles sings, and when she wants to she can hit the notes few can, but for the most part here she is workin’ with the musicians to create the best overall track – and it works beautifully.

With a rhythm and horn section comprised of some of the best session musicians Memphis had to offer and Willie Mitchell behind the production board this album is almost guaranteed to yield something amazing, and deliver they do.

From the start of the album Peebles shows amazing chemistry working with the groove perfectly, never overpowering the music, but rather complimenting it. Her voice is often laid back and focused, but the ballads are here as well showing off her vocal range with excellent precision. She hits the high notes and it almost magically fades into the melody of the song, without ever feeling forced or for that matter even tried, smooth would be the perfect way to describe the sound.

On the Ghostface used “It Was Jealousy” (that’s right – lots of samples here for you beat fiends) and the powerful discussion about men and fidelity on “You Can’t Hold A Man” we see her backed to perfection by a string section, add to that some great organ work and you’re ready to be taken to church – “Chuurch!” © Snoop.

From that burnin’ and churnin’ funk to the gospel influenced soul Tellin’ It is an album that is filled with tough talk and truth. She sings with all her heart and soul throughout the album showing off her bad ass unfucwitable side (“Come to Mama”, “Beware”) consistently, while still maintaining a certain style and class. This is raw, which is probably why we hear so many RZA samples, and dirty, but most of all it’s just good music with feeling – it’s got soul!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ahmad Jamal "At The Top: Poinciana Revisited"

The first time I heard Ahmad Jamal I didn’t know I was listening to him. Thanks to the Soul Brother Pete Rock I was first privy to the sounds comin’ from Jamal’s piano thanks to “The World is Yours” from Nas’ first classic, Illmatic.

As I learned about samples and started diggin in the crates I began to see this piano player pop up regularly. They were cheap and I copped one. It was cool, nothin’ spectacular, no Pete Rock sample, but I new I would find it one day!

In that time I have since picked up a few more Jamal LP’s (five to be exact) and the one thing to know about this man is when he is on, it’s some of the best Jazz one could listen to! At The Top: Poinciana Revisited is a perfect demonstration of why he deserves more respect and listening time from music fans all over the world.

What has always inspired me in Jazz is the musician’s use of his instrument in combination with silence. The piano is one of the best ways to express this. Jamal will play and play and then disappear for a moment, the drums might still be settin’ the groove, or the bassist may be layin’ down a funky little retort for whatever Jamal just hit you with, but always at just the right moment he will let your mind do the playing and let the music sink in that much more.

At The Top: Poinciana Revisited comes from Impulse in 1969 and like so many of their releases around this time, it’s not one to be missed. It may not hold that classic PR sample (guess I’ll just have to grab up some more of his joints!) but it does have plenty of elements for new producers to mine and if I’m not mistaken at least a couple that already have been. If Jazz has never been your thing and you’re sitting around looking for some music to relax to, check this!

Let me know what y’all think, like I said I have more records by him and would be happy to add so more to the site if people are feeling his work.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

50 Cent "Power of the Dollar"

Well, well... I'm back at it again. But if you haven't taken the clue the mixes have been suspended. I'm searching my crates discovering more tracks to bless y'all with but until then I'm gonna give up albums from my collection.

First up is 50 Cent and his 2000 release "Power of the Dollar." Shouts to my boy Swerve for hookin this one up! While 50 has come a long way since this dropped it has a couple tracks worth checkin for. Opening with the Destiny's Child (back when it was the original 4!) assisted "Thug Love" it's pretty standard radio fare for the time. DJ Scratch hooks up the next track, "I'm A Hustler," and it's def the sleeper on the record with a classic boom bap styled banger for 50 to spit his street narratives over, add to it a nicely chopped and cut up Jadakiss vocal sample for the chourus and you have some grimey New York Shit!

On the flip Noreaga gets up with Fif on the Erick Sermon produced "Da Heatwave." Not spectacular, nor bad - this track and the second, "Your Life's on the Line," are both place holders in the end for the closer, the infamous "How To Rob." With the Madd Rapper adding his crazy brand of ad-libs this scathing call out to everyone in the rap game put 50 on the map (and some say got him shot!?!).

Check out 50 before he was the superstar, even if he was still up to the same old dis tricks. Next up will be something a little laid back and heavy on the Jazz tip - the rap records will be few and far between so get em when they come!