This third installment in the "Diggin' Deeper: The Roots of Acid Jazz" series, which collects likely funk, jazz, soul, fusion, and disco sides from the deep Columbia/Epic/Sony catalog, includes such gems as Art Blakey's "Cubano Chant" and Lalo Schifrin's "Jaws," a Shaft-meets-Frankenstein hybrid version of the "Jaws" movie theme.
This set moves and grooves from end to end, and even listeners with little interest in the acid jazz movement that surfaced some two decades after most of these tracks were recorded will find a great little alternative dance album lurking here.
By the time the Brand New Heavies released Shelter in 1997, urban R&B was shifting toward the more organic grooves that they helped pioneer in the early '90s. Although the Heavies were into acid jazz as well, they smoothed over many of the experimental elements of their music in the mid-'90s, leaving behind a seductive, earthy, and jazzy variation of urban soul. That provided the foundation for Shelter, their first album featuring Siedah Garrett as lead singer. Garrett's smooth voice helps push the band toward more conventional territory, yet their songwriting is stronger than most of the contemporaries, and their sound is funkier and more convincing. While there are no standout singles on Shelter, it's a uniformly engaging listen, illustrating that the Brand New Heavies are one of the great underrated urban R&B bands of the '90s.
Drummer Idris Muhammad's first two albums as a leader (Black Rhythm Revolution! and Peace and Rhythm) are reissued in full on this single CD. The former set has a few worthy tracks (including Muhammad's colorful feature "Soulful Dreams"); the latter recording…has a pair of soul vocals and some R&B material. Trumpeter Virgil Jones and saxophonist Clarence Thomas get in their spots, and the music is danceable.
Acid jazz, also known as club jazz, is a musical genre that combines elements of jazz, soul, funk and disco. Acid jazz originated in the London club scene of the mid-1980s in the rare groove movement and spread to the US, Japan, Eastern Europe and Brazil. Major acts included Brand New Heavies, Incognito, Us3 and Jamiroquai from the UK and A Tribe Called Quest, Buckshot LeFonque and Digable Planets from the US.
A collection including nine of the ten tracks from the Brand New Heavies' self-titled debut album, plus three tracks recorded live in Tokyo, In Tha Beginning… is a fresh look at the acid jazz group's first recordings. Entrenched in England's rare-groove scene at the time, the Brand New Heavies were a tight unit that fused dexterous instrumental jazz-funk with just a touch of P-Funk bounce for club audiences. The results, on "Dream Come True," "People Get Ready," and the instrumental highlight "BNH," are great examples of acid jazz.