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Jazzmatazz Volume I

EMI Catalogue


Released: 17th May 1993


out of stock


Released: 9th Jun 2014


out of stock

a rap album for jazz fans & a jazz album for rap fans, skillful & smart, clean when it needs to be & gritty when that's more effective, helping to legitimize hip-hop to those who doubted it, making for an altogether important release.

Though it can reasonably be argued that rap grew almost directly out of funk & its particular beat, there are a lot of overlaps with jazz, particularly the bop & post-bop eras: the uninhibited expression, the depiction of urban life, just to name two. Jazz samples have also had a large role in hip-hop, but the idea of rapping over actual live jazz wasn't truly fully realized until Gang Starr MC Guru created & released the first in his 'Jazzmatazz' series in 1993, with guest musicians who included saxophonist Branford Marsalis (who had previously collaborated with DJ Premier & Guru for the track 'Jazz Thing' on the Mo' Better Blues soundtrack), trumpeter Donald Byrd, vibraphonist Roy Ayers, guitarist Ronny Jordan, & keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith, as well as vocalist N'Dea Davenport (also of the acid jazz group the Brand New Heavies) & French rapper MC Solaar. guru delves into a variety of subject matter, from the problems of inner-city life to his own verbal prowess to self-improvement without ever sounding too repetitive, & his well-practiced flow fits well with the overall smooth, sultry & intelligent feel of the album. From Jordan's solo on 'No Time to Play' to Ayers' vibes expertise on 'Take a Look (At Yourself)' to MC Solaar's quick and syllabic rhymes on 'Le Bien, le Mal', this is still a standout record. 

Jazzmatazz Volume I


  1. Introduction
  2. Loungin'
  3. When You're Near
  4. Transit Ride
  5. No Time To Play
  6. Down The Backstreets
  7. Respectful Dedications
  8. Take A Look (At Yourself)
  9. Trust Me
  10. Slicker Than Most
  11. Le Bien, Le Mal
  12. Sights In The City