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"Shades of Blue"
by: Sun-J

The man of mystery has returned, though this time not as his alter ego, high octave rapping Quasimoto, but as himself, the surreal madman behind the boards, Madlib. Known to his blood as Otis Jackson Jr, Madlib has been creating magic in the studio for underground hip hop (Quasimoto, as mentioned above) and jazz (with his neo-funk group, Yesterday's New Quintet). In addition to supporting his own musical tastes, Madlib has also amped up musical projects for Lootpack, Madviallain, and most notably, Peanut Butter Wolf's relapse last year, Jukebox 45's among others. 2003 has marked the beginning of this Madman's influence. Dominating Wildchild's debut, Madlib then went on to compliment Declaime, and then begun collaborative work with MF Doom and Detriot's underground hip hop pride (ever since Eminem went mainstream of course!!!), Jay Dilla (Jay Dee). Madlib?s 2003 escapade is collaboration with the Blue Note catalog which is a compilation of jazz remixes called Shades of Blue. Although, make no mistake, this is far from a remix album, and in my opinion is more of a tribute album to the greats. At some points Madlib transforms the music into an undecodable source with all of his musical charm. Among those songs Madlib pranced upon are Gene Harris? ?The Look of Slim,? Donald Byrd?s ?Stepping Into Tomorrow,? Horace Silver?s ?Song For My Father,? and Wayne Shorters?s ?Footprints.? The standout track is "Peace/Dolphin/Dance," a track originally recorded by the aforementioned Horace Silver and Herbie Hacncock which he tranduces into a blur of ambient sounds, distorted melodies, and sporadic high hats and kicks. "Please Set Me at Ease" features lyrical manchild Medaphoar, and the only hip hop mix, full blown rap cut on the LP. "Funky Blue Note" is a Madlib original composition and sends tingles down the spine with amazing drums and sparkling sounds dancing with a walking baseline. Shades of Blue is a delicious entrie for those "jonesing" for new age jazz with a hip hop twist. Madlib does a respectable raid on Blue Notes' catalog, and serves supplementary in helping us remember Jazz gems of the past, and present.


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