CD Music Evolution (CD 6285903),
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Branford Marsalis/Buckshot LeFonque
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 749985
MUSIC EVOLUTION includes a hidden, instrumental track after track 16.
Personnel includes: Branford Marsalis (vocals, tenor saxophone, saxophone, programming); Frank McComb (vocals, keyboards); 50 Styles "The Unknown Soldier," Tess, G.U.R.U. (vocals); Laurence Fishburne (spoken vocals); David Sanborn (alto saxophone); Russell Gunn (trumpet); John Touchy, Delfeayo Marsalis (trombone); Carol Webb Sortomme (concertmaster); Barry Finclair, John Pintavalle (violin); Sue Pray (viola); Richard Locker (cello); Joey Calderazzo (piano, keyboards); L. Carl Burnett (guitar); Reginald Veal, Ben Wolfe (acoustic bass); Reggie Washington, Will Lee (bass); Rocky Bryant (drums, percussion, programming); Mino Cinelu (percussion); Matthew Backer (programming); Rob "Wacko!" Hunter (background vocals); DJ Apollo.
Producers: Branford Marsalis, L. Carl Burnett, Rob "Wacko!" Hunter.
Recorded at Sound On Sound Studios and Manhattan Center Studios, New York, New York.
On MUSIC EVOLUTION, Buckshot LeFonque saxophonist and bandleader Branford Marsalis has produced another slick combination of hip-hop and jazz, heavy on the slick, light on the hip-hop, tasty on the jazz. On the title cut, the band maintains the Marsalis family tradition of educating listeners, pointing out the historical lineage of the music. The funk quotient is satisfied by "James Brown (Part I & II)," while the ballad "Another Day" contains vocal nods to Stevie Wonder and a bass line and soprano sax filigree similar to Stings's "Englishman In New York."
The Stevie Wonder influence crops up again on "Better Than I Am," which recalls Wonder's "All In Love Is Fair." "Weary With Toil" has echoes of Marcus Miller's moody synthesiser work with Miles Davis circa TUTU. And "Phoenix" is a big pop ballad a la Whitney or Celine. From rap to R&B to jazzy funk, Buckshot LeFonque's got it all, though sometimes one wishes that a great instrumentalist like Branford Marsalis would just do what he does best and play his saxophone. Check out his great blowing on the unlisted instrumental that closes the album.
Q (6/97, p.142) - 3 Stars (out of 5) - "...an energetic, well-produced venture with a few surprises..."
Down Beat (8/97, p.50) - 4 stars (out of 5) - "This may be the "mother" of mixed bags....all you subversives who like your margins extended and categories smashed will get a special kick out of the phat flava here..."
JazzTimes (9/97, p.80) - "...Marsalis touches base with a myrad of ideas: hip-hop replete with rap bits...smooth-edged R&B tunes...electronic and acoustic sources, jazz and fonque...pop and rap....you can't help but admire the idealism underscoring the grooves."
Musician (6/97, p.84) - "...serves up healthy portions of hip-hop, funk, and jungle, but what comes through in these tunes is Marsalis' interest in pop forms, particularly rhythmic ideas....an ideal pop album for thinking musicians..."
Rap Pages (4/97, p.79) - "...MUSICAL EXPLOSION conveys the sincere feeling that this project was done solely 'cause Branford and Co. damn well felt like doing it..."
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Sony Music Entertainment 749985
Sony Music Entertainment
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