Music Reviews


Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note

Blue Note

Though Blue Note’s catalog reads like a who’s who in the next generation of relevant jazz, a healthy injection of acts like Cali native Madlib is vital to pushing the label’s prominence even further. A jazz concept album that could possibly rival DJ Shadow and Guru, Shades of Blue harkens back to an era of kinetic, infectious jazz and replenishes and reinvents the wheel with psychedelic impulses.

The former Lootpack MC invokes a progressive hip-hop spirit, all the while celebrating the impressive history of Blue Note, reviving the sounds of artists like Donald Byrd, Horace Silver and Wayne Shorter. While artists like Tribe and Gang Starr have already squeezed sounds out of the back catalog to lace their tracks, Madlib pulls the reverse stunt, lacing his own science. Jazz, funk and shades of Mo Wax downtempo all weave a solid album that avoids the standard remix template, instead providing a vivid, tightly-woven portrait of a label which refuses to grow tiresome.

Blue Note:

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