The criminally underrated MC and producer Ohmega Watts brings us the 5th installment of his “Labor of Love” series with this 45-only mix chock full of soul, funk and R&B, but also with plenty of sweet surprises. Spread the love…
[spotted at OkayPlayer]
My Hood is one of those relentlessly catchy hip-hop tunes that’ll have you nodding your head to no end. A great guitar riff combined with Priest’s usual spiritual and socially conscious lyrics makes for a classic track from the early 2000′s hip-hop world. Priest just recently released a new album “The Psychic World of Walter Reed” which features cameos from a bunch of his old Wu-Tang running buddies like RZA, Raekwon, Ghostface & Inspectah Deck.
Of the three classic blaxploitation soundtrack albums from the early 1970′s, Roy Ayer’s “Coffy” is by far the least appreciated (Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” being the other two). It definitely stands out because of Ayers’ amazing vibes playing, but the songs are extremely strong and cover many of the genres that were just coming into their own at the time including soul-jazz and jazz-funk. Check out the extra funky Brawling Broads above and pick up a copy of the soundtrack here, it’s a stone cold classic.
LISTEN: Lou Donaldson – Turtle Walk
From “Hot Dog” : 1969 : Blue Note Records (Out-of-Print)
As funky as Lou Donaldson’s albums were in the late 1960′s with Blue Note, he really turned up the heat on “Hot Dog”. How could he not when the record features such future soul-jazz legends as Idris Muhammed (still billed as Leo Morris at this time) on drums, Melvin Sparks on guitar and Charles Earland on the organ. Sweet Lou’s own Turtle Walk might just the best track on the album – it has everything that one could want in a soul-jazz burner and then some.
Last week we talked about the passing of Donald Byrd and all the greatness he left behind, and now the legendary Gilles Peterson (who has been doing this stuff before many of today’s top DJs were even born) has put together two tribute mixes to the man – the first one devoted to his early acoustic years and the second highlighting his great later electric recordings. Fantastic stuff and a fitting tribute indeed. [watch a nice vid of Gilles Peterson talking about making the mix here]
LISTEN: Nappy Roots – Good Day
From “The Humdinger” : 2008 : Nappy Roots Entertainment (Buy)
The Nappy Roots have always been southern and proud of it, and the Kentucky based crew have consistently produced hip-hop that leans more on an old-school sound than most of their fellow Dirty South musical brethren. A great hook and chorus combined with a funky keyboard sample make Good Day a classic hip-hop anthem for the ages.
From “Free Form” : 1961 : Blue Note (Buy)
It was officially announced yesterday that the legendary jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd passed away on February 4th at the age of 80. Beginning in the mid-1950′s Byrd became one of the major figures in jazz in the style that would come to be called hard bop. Before long he was one of the primary trumpet players for the Blue Note label on both his own classic early albums as a leader and as a sideman on many other important Blue Note recordings.
LISTEN: Donald Byrd – Witch Hunt
From “Street Lady” : 1973 : Blue Note (Buy)
Byrd’s most enduring musical output will surely be his albums for Blue Note starting in 1972 and running though 1976. This is the period where he produced the landmark recordings “Black Byrd” (1972), “Street Lady” (1973), “Steppin’ Into Tomorrow” (1974), “Places and Spaces” (1975) and “Caricatures” (1976). Byrd, along with the production team The Mizell Brothers, virtually created a new genre of music (one that to this day is still copied but never matched) that combined jazz, funk and R&B into a commercial sound that was still rooted in the improvisational style that was at the core of jazz music. Almost universally loathed by critics and purists when the albums were released, they have come to be appreciated as the groundbreaking work that they were by both the hip-hop generation and a new more accepting jazz audience.
From “Places And Spaces” : 1975 : Blue Note (Buy)
It is truly a loss of not just a phenomenal jazz talent and forward-thinking musician, but also a great teacher and a man who fought hard throughout his lifetime to ensure that jazz music and it’s history would become an integral part of the curriculum for those who studied music at the college level. His legacy is one that will not be easily forgotten.