Music Review | posted 01.04.2020
Gang Starr
Jazz Thing
Mr Bongo, 2020
Text Stefan Mertlik
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Cover Gang Starr - Jazz Thing

»Jazz ain’t the past, this music’s gonna last,« Guru rapped in “Jazz Thing” in 1990. The song was released at a time when sampling jazz music in hip-hop was at its peak. The Vinyl-7inch, now reissued by Mr Bongo, sees itself as the anthem of that era. While other producers do not reveal their sources, Gang Starr diligently lists influences and gives history lessons on the side: »In the 40’s came be-bop, the first be-bop / The real be-bop, so let me talk / About Diz’ and Bird, giving the word / Defining how a beat could be so complete. Accordingly, DJ Premier makes generous use of the treasures from his record collection. The main sample is provided by pianist Thelonious Monk, who even has his say himself via vocal sample at the beginning of the song. The cut-out piano snippet is from his piece »Light Blue«. Kool & The Gang provide the necessary foundation with a bass line from »Dujii«. DJ Premier does not rely on a supporting sample, which he underlays with crisp drums, but clicks many building blocks into each other. Since »Jazz Thing« was released as part of the »Mo’ Better Blues« soundtrack, the B-side contains a so-called »Movie Mix«. Here Premier moves the controls, which gives the individual sound elements a different dynamic. He also adds more samples to the arrangement. The A-side sounds tidier and smoother in direct comparison. Friends of the genre will still enjoy both versions 30 years later. Those who can’t get enough after the Vinyl-7inch will hear the prequel »Jazz Music« from Gang Starr’s debut album »No More Mr. Nice Guy«.

You can find »Jazz Thing« byGang Starr in the webshop of HHV Records: Gold Vinyl 7inch | Black Vinyl 7inch
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