Diggin’ On Jazzmatazz

The Jazzmatazz projects were the brainchild of Guru and started back in 1993. He was involved in much of the coordination and arrangement. Jazzmatazz was ground-breaking on many accounts. It was not the first time that live instruments and hip hop beats were put together. However it was and still is one of the most successful blends of jazz and hip hop that ever happened. Yes, there were other groups doing similar things at the time but the lasting power of the Jazzmatazz projects is without question. Groups like Greyboy, The Solsonics, and Bill Laswells ‘Bluescreen’ also combined live jazz-oriented instrumentation with hip hop beats. One primary difference was the ensemble approach of Jazzmatazz. Perhaps the most famous musicians to participate were Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers, both of whom had long and storied careers prior to 1993. To most educated heads they need little introduction. At least 10 other artists were featured on volume one alone though. The breadth of scope and the number of musicians would have been a potential cause for inconsistency had it not been for the vision and oversight from Guru. More than a decade later Jazzmatazz is still one of my favorite groups. Included in my post today are the instrumentals for both albums as well as the albums themselves. I wanted to highlight the instrumentals because they are unique and creative. The remixes are a part of this too. They are dope and deserve as much shine as the albums themselves. You’ll notice volume 3 was left out. Why? Er.. let’s not go there. Guru should have left well enough alone after volume two was finished but sometimes too much of a good thing thins the broth and dries out the tobacco.

volume one

01 Loungin
02 When You´re Near
03 Transit Ride
04 No Time To Play
05 Down The Backstreets
06 Take A Look
07 Trust Me
08 Slicker Than Most
09 Le Bien, Le Mal
10 Sights In The City

volume one instrumentals

volume two

01 Intro (Light It Up) / Jazzalude I / New Reality Style
02 Lifesaver
03 Living In This World
04 Looking Through Darkness
05 Skit A (Interview) / Watch What You Say
06 Jazzalude II / Defining Purpose
07 For You
08 Insert A (Mental Relaxation) Medicine
09 Lost Souls
10 Insert B (The Real Deal) / Nobody Knows
11 Jazzalude III / Hip Hop As A Way Of Life
12 Respect The Architect
13 Feel The Music
14 Young Ladies
15 The Traveler
16 Jazzalude IV / Maintaining Focus
17 Count Your Blessings
18 Choice Of Weapons
19 Something In The Past
20 Skit B (Alot On My Mind) / Revelation

volume two instrumentals

the remixes

01 Respect The Architect (Buckwild Remix)
02 Respect The Architect (Instrumental)
03 Watch What You Say (Chucky Remix)
04 Watch What You Say (C.j. Remix)
05 Momentum (Instrumental)
06 Loungin’ (Square Biz Mix)
07 Loungin’ (Guru Meets The Professor Mix)
08 No Time To Play (C.j. Longer Radio Mix)
09 Trust Me (Mackapella)
10 Le Bien, Le Mal (Instrumental)


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19 Responses to “Diggin’ On Jazzmatazz”

  1. Cenzi Stiles says:

    I can completely agree on leaving Jazzmatazz 3 out of the big picture 'cause that shit wasn't even Jazz, it was more soul than anything, plus it had that annoying fucking song with Erykah Badu.

    But that being said, the DJ Scratch produced "Keep Your Worries" is fuckin DOPE! but NOT Jazz. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2819EKln3pI)

    But with that said, not even Jazzmatazz 2 hit it like the first one. Like WTF is Jamiroquai doing on it? great track! but NOT Jazz!

    Jazzmatazz 4 was blaaand, but had more contemporarie jazz players sprinkled on it.

    For the record Digital Planet's "Blowout Comb" blows ANY of the these Jazzmatazz out the fuckin water with inclusion of live jazz instrumentation…

    Here's another GREAT piece of hiphop with live jazzyness:

    Freestyle Fellowship – Innercity Boundaries


  2. qnzgrimiest says:

    down the backstreets is my shit, that represents new york to the fullest, and transit ride, the traveler is also my favorite

  3. elmattic says:

    I'm with Cenzi that Blowout Comb kicks the hell out of Guru's Brooklyn-dinner-party-background-music, though there are some fat tracks on Vol. 1.

    That video for Loungin' cracks me up, where he's just lying on the couch while this lady vacuums around him.

  4. verge says:

    Thanks for the instrumentals and remixes. Dope post.

  5. Roy Johnson says:

    Great job, s-fan.

  6. Diggy says:

    I should quit ghosting on this site and show some appreciation! As always, TROY coming through with exquisitness.

  7. Gloss says:

    Great job. You should continue to write more which your contributions because it makes it that much better.

  8. Thun says:

    Blowout Comb has some excellent use of live instrumentation, but there's no real point in comparing it to Jazzmatazz. Blowout Comb is a hazy, psychadelic-funk, abstract rap record that sounds like it was recorded in a shack (in a good way). Jazzmatazz was an attempt to teach the young black youth that the jazz records their grandparents loved in some ways set the pace for hip hop swagger. Apples and oranges.

    In any event, this is a great post, and I can't wait to bump these remixes.

  9. Cenzi Stiles says:

    No comparison. Just a comment.

    A lot of the jazz musicians invited on Jazzmatazz are not for their "grandparents", quite a few, a majority I would even say, are contemporary and still relevant to jazz fans like myself who is barely old enough to be a grandparent.

    But I get your point. I don't think he used his other three Jazzmatazz as a teaching tool, but instead as a backing to his hiphop flow. And in this case, once again, Blowout Comb is to Jazzmatazz 2-3-4 what making love is to used condoms.

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