There are times when in the midst of an article of literature, film, or music that I can sense I'm absorbing something revolutionary. Something that distinguishes itself in a sea of mediocrity. Something that might not even be a blip on the radar amongst that which is popular, and those who dictate what is popular. Such is the case with Yesterday's New Quintet, a brave new experiment in the fusion of hip-hop and jazz.

True, this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, new terrain. Acts like A Tribe Called Quest, Gang Starr, and The Roots, and producers like DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Ali Shaheed Muhammed have beautifully incorporated horn loops, snares, and bass riffs into their compositions, either through funked-out live instrumention or sampling's cut-and-paste methodology. What YNQ do here, however, is fucking mind-blowing. This is the sum-total of Bitches Brew, Headhunters, Superfly, The Low End Theory and about a thousand points in between.

This "quintet" is actually the work of one man behind the curtain -- independent hip-hop producer Madlib. Those who are familiar with underground hip-hop might recognize the name from his work with acts like Lootpack and Quasimoto. Here, he works under five different monikers: Ahmad Miller, Monk Hughes, Joe McDuffrey, Malik Flavors, and his true identity, Otis Jackson Jr. The arsenal is a varied and colorful array of vibes, drums (sampled & live), rhodes, synthesizers, and percussion, all arranged and layered into full-length melodic excursions. The end result is the kind of groove that used to come from the likes of Roy Ayers and Lonnie Liston Smith.

An EP, Ellie's Theme, laid the foundation for Angles Without Edges, a 19-track longplayer that may hold the title of the best album of 2001 that nobody's heard. Standout tracks include the opening one-two punch of Julani and Papa, as well as Uno Esta, Rugged Tranquility, and covers of Ramsey Lewis (Sun Goddess), and Roy Ayers (Daylight), just to keep things interesting.

This may very well be the first shot fired in a new musical revolution, in a genre that has become a parody of itself. With studio-made thugs and pedestrian pop hooks de rigeur, here comes the aural and melodical equivalent of Godzilla, fucking shit up properly.


information pilfered from various web sources.

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