Shabazz Palaces: Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star and Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines (Sub Pop): There is something so deeply refreshing about this project between Digable Planets rapper Ishmael Butler and Zimbabwean-American, multi-instrumentalist Tendai Maraire. So much contemporary hip hop, even that which purports to be somewhat experimental, tends to cover the same old familiar lyrical terrain, but this album and it’s “bonus” partner are definitely fresh. Much of the appeal of the 11-track Born on a Gangster Star lies in its connection to the space funk bent that manages to reference such late ’70s classics as P-Funk and Drexciya to contemporaries such as Cannibal Ox. The difference is how much Shabazz Palaces inhabit a smoother delivery such as the R&B croon of Shine a Light or almost straight-ahead rap of Fine Ass Hairdresser. While not the most adventurous record in terms of sonics — aside from a near-religious devotion to severe reverb on everything — the album flows well as a whole. That’s harder to say of many other outside hip-hop artists. Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines is altogether more fun. Tracks such as 30 Clip Extension land like psychedelic ruminations on hip-hop celebrity — Lo and behold/look who it is/You favourite rapper/his jaws clenched in a Xanax glow — while Sabonim in the Saab on ’em is carried along on a truly inventive loop of brass, what sounds like percussive empty oil drums and assorted sampled electronic buzzes and vibraphones.
Charles Lloyd New Quartet: Passin’ Thru (Blue Note): Saxophonist Lloyd has led his new quartet for a decade and pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland are all leaders in their own right as well. But backing the legendary bandleader on this live, seven-song collection, they sound like one solitary organism oozing out in …read more
Source:: Vancouver Sun