as anybody seen Hip-Hop?” asks Roger Robinson. “I have to find Faith, Beauty and Hip-Hop.” His soliloquy on “The Quest,” the sixth track on this disc, lays out Jazzanova’s philosophy clearly. I’ve always felt that Jazzanova were perfectionists: Now I’m sure of it.
We’re not met with their subtle hand, however, until the second chorus of the mix. Jill Scott opens the disc, crooning over a hip-hop bassline and vinyl scratches. The superbly swung drum break comes in, after the aforementioned chorus, segueing nicely into the second track, which has a typical Jazzanova ride-cymbal beat. We’re kept at this hip-hop tempo up until partway through the third track, when a more up-tempo modern latin beat appears. Somehow Jazzanova make this beat work expertly even though it’s significantly faster than the one before it. And then … Carol Williams.
Have you ever heard the Strange Games or Strange Games, Funky Things mix CDs? They’re a pair of eye-opening compilations of crate-digger period funk, instrumental and electronic and vocal funk. The Carol Williams track on this Jazzanova CD would fit perfectly onto either of the Strange Games comps. This is funk for people who hate what that word means today because they remember what it used to mean. I’ve never heard of Carol Williams before, but this track alone seals the deal for me on this CD. Sold!
I’m not going to walk you through the rest of the mixes on this CD. Let’s just say that the mixing on this disc is not about turntablism or virtuosity. It doesn’t really matter which tracks are made by Jazzanova, or by other artists, or partially remixed by Jazzanova. What matters is the overall feel. This is one CD where you never have to get up to skip a track.
Although I’ve never really understood why people talk about certain tracks or albums as “summer” music, there’s a patio-and-beer feeling to this disc that can’t be denied. And while I can’t be sure that it will stand up over years of repeated listening, or if it’s truly a “classic”, Mixing could quite easily be the best album I’ve heard this year.
Reviewed by: Francis Henville
Reviewed on: 2004-07-01