Beach Recordings presents: Unwrapped Vol. 1
music a serious thing? Ok, we all know it's a long way to be a
professional musician. It needs many hours and long studies to reach
this final level of perfection, which impressed the audience. On the
other side music is entertaining and shall be fun. If you send a
musician into a studio for recording with a prepared arrangement
written in notes, it might be professional. But is this music vivid?
So the best is a meeting of professional musicians and let's them jam
DJ/Producer Tony Joseph and
Musician/Producer Darryl Ross are the producer of "Unwrapped
Vol.1". Tony Joseph has produced music for a number of
hip-hopís first icons including Salt-N-Pepa, Kid & Play and Dana
Dane. Darryl Ross is an accomplished producer, musician, songwriter,
arranger and vocalist. Artists he worked with are Michael Jackson,
Vanessa Williams, Barry White and Digital Underground. The idea behind
this project is not only to combine elements of hip-hop and smooth
jazz, but to let play together artists of both genres.
Joseph says, "I want people to enjoy
the soloists, not just the track. I want them to enjoy the work
these musicians have done. Itís like theyíre singing with their
instruments to these tracks. I want people to enjoy the blend of the
two." And Ross adds, "We want this to evolve into a
situation where we ultimately have a new form of jazz hip hop; a
hybrid where itís not dependent on already covered hip hop songs
but original songs done in this format."
Nowadays smooth jazz artists like to use
rhythm elements of hip-hop, but the result is always smooth jazz. This
album is different. Smooth jazz isn't the dominant factor, hip-hop has
"equal rights" to entertain the audience. The not to be
underestimated progress of this album is the detachement of
restrictments of the old format.
Crush On You
bases on the interpolation of "Rain Dance", a song Jeff
Lorber has written and played on his album "Water Sign",
when he still was a jazz fusion artist. Patrice Rushen on piano and
vibes and Paul Jackson jr. on guitar develop a firework of excellent
tones melting with the vocals of Thyais Ross, Darryl Ross and Tony
Joseph. A fantastic contemporary answer to the early fusion jazz tune.
Patrice Rushen was lambasted by jazz critics for switching from jazz
to more financially rewarding R&B with her album "Anything
But Ordinary". Fans of smooth jazz
can only profit by this freedom of movement.
Ms. Jackson is
a tune taken from the hip-hop album "Stankonia" of the group
Outkast. The rap part was replaced by instruments. Mabvutu Carpenter
has the right raw voice to present the melody. Kat Dyson plays the
wah-wah guitar overjoyedly.
Do You Love) bases on the tune "Who Do You Love" from the
album "Present Tense" of the faboulous Lenny Write.
Attentive readers of my reviews will remember my review about
Lenny White Collection".
Good stuff is timeless. Rinato Nito, the pianist of this tune, is a
name to remind.
contains an interpolation of "Open Your Eyes" written and
sung by Bobby Caldwell. Louis van Taylor on sax, Paul Jackson jr.'s
guitar and Terry "The Player" Stanton's voice are strokes of
luck for this project. Only the passages between the several tunes are
Mike Philips is the new star on Hidden
Beach Records. This exeptionel saxophonist is to hear on One
More Chance, a rendition of "Stay With Me" written
and sung by the DeBarge brothers. "The hip-hop community has
sampled its share of material from the DeBarge catalog", states
MusicHound' s The Essential Album Guide.
So Fresh So Clean
sounds very familiar to my ears. This tune was written by A. Benjamin
and A. Patton, the
Atlanta-based production team Organized Noize. They have also produced
"Stankonia" of the group
Outkast and this tune is taken from this album. The track reminds me
of the album of the GAP band. Don't know why.
I Get Around
is a cover of "Computer Love" taken from Roger Troutman's
New Zapp IV U". After Lea Randolph's short "Round And
Round, Round And Go" Louis van Taylor
's sax and Paul Jackson jr.'s (distortion !) guitar take the round.
Funky and deep urban.
Forget About Dre
is featuring Karen Briggs' violin and Gerald Spikes on sax. Violin in
this genre is seldom. Karen Briggs was also a featured violinist on
Chris Ho's "Picasso Blue".
She also played on albums of Kenny Logan, Dianna Ross and Yanni. Karen
has a classical bowing, unusual is her ability of jazzy improvisation
on this instrument.
What's It Gonna Be
turns the previous rap tune to a smooth experience thanks to Richard's
"88 fingers" Turner Jr. 's piano skills and Johnny Britt's
atmospheric mute trumpet.
is an interpolation of "Daylight" written by R. Ayers, W.
Allen and E. Birdsong and "Memory Band" written by Charles
Stepney. "Daylight" was written for the group Ramp in 1977.
The second sample "Memory Band" was from the selftitled
debut album of the group Rotary Connection (1967). These samples were
used by the group A Tribe Called Quest on their debut album
"People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm"
(1990). This cover of "Bonita Applebum" has an excellent
instrumental highlight: The outstanding Tim "The Swede"
Walvaars on Harmonica (a mixture of Stevie Wonder and Toots Thieleman).
Also impressing is the scating vocoderized voice of Mike Philips.
You Got Me is
a cover of the jazz-rap album "Things Fall Apart" of the
group The Roots (1999). Karen Briggs and
Mike Philips give this tune its special magic character.
Danger (Been So Long)
is something for percussion (Munyogo) and Flamenco guitar
(Marcos Salz) fans. This track is a cover of Mystikal's rap album
"Let's Get Ready" (2000). Thanks for not using the original
Such a collection album without a cover of
the notorious rapper Eminem is not imaginable. Eminem sung Stan
on his album "Marshall Mathers LP" (2000). Without his
explicit lyrics this tune sounds very comfortable.
Unfortunately this album is still strictly
on the word-of-mouth tip. Friends of hip-hop music are encouraged by
this album to explore jazz music, the jazz part makes the album
attractive for fans of smooth jazz. Both worlds are waiting for Vol.
II, me included.