Friday, November 5, 2010

Jazzanova - Of All The Things (2008)


After two straight days of doom and gloom, how about one of the best modern soul records of the decade to turn your minds to clouds, love and the sun in the azure sky?

Yeah, I know that sounds kinda hippie, but work with me here: Jazzanova are, oddly enough, a German jazz-fusion outfit who normally specialize in remixing stuff for other bands, like England's 4Hero and Gorillaz and God knows who else. Anyway, their latest release is 2008's Of All The Things, and its one of two actual "albums" the group has composed on their own (the other being 2002's In Between). While the latter album was almost note-for-note a reinterpretation of classic jazz filtered through more contemporary ears, tonight's upload is the band from Berlin's interpretation of a classic Motown album, drawing compositional inspiration from Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and even The Stylistics to bring you something special this side of the 21st century in 12 kickass songs.

One horn break and some cello later, 'Look What You're Doin' To Me' is the ideal neo-soul opener, with a wicked bridge and chorus to top the mug off. The 70's have a strong grip on this baby's manhood, slickin' up a few toe-tappers here and there ['Let Me Show Ya', 'Rockin' You Eternally'] but keeping the taste fresh with a jazzy ballad that feels strangely spacious ['Little Bird'] and even letting the Jazz part of their name rear its head from time to time, which might remind of you Nujabes without the hip-hop elements ['Morning Scapes', 'Lucky Girl']. Not that the hip-hop is absent however, as a punchy sonnuvabitch like 'So Far From Home' demonstrates with kick to spare. Jazzanova really pulled out all the stops on this album, and the eclecticism benefits everything at play.

An record this unabashedly nostalgic yet so stupendous in execution doesn't come along as often as we'd like to think folks. Whether or not this will be a considered a stone cold neo-soul classic in coming years...or merely survive as fodder for samplers and a listing in the heads of future hipsters...let your years decide.

Listen Here - "Rockin' You Eternally"


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