Gil Scott-Heron once asked, is that jazz?
A bit later everyone was asking, so what exactly is acid-jazz?
It’s a British label founded by the DJ Gilles Peterson. True, but.
Acid Jazz Records specialized in a sound that mixed jazz with heavy slatherings of funky bass lines, groovy drumming, soul and R&B and hip-hop. The label discovered and championed bands like Jamiroquai, The James Taylor Quartet, The Brand New Heavies and Stereo MCs. In my estimation it was the hippest sound of the early 90s.
Soon, other labels, mostly in the States, got into the act, releasing supposed acid jazz records by such icons as Yusuf Lateef, Bernard Purdie and Shirley Scott. People said Guru was pure acid jazz. Others said, ‘Come off it man. This is all just urban poetry put to music.”
Soul Jazz, another British label did not clarify the situation at all.
In the end, what does it matter? Acid jazz, whatever it is, is pretty cool and funky. And today we share a German double disc set titled, The Wonderful World of Acid Jazz. It’s very good and covers many styles. It’s as good a definition of this very ambiguous genre as I can find.
Track Listing: (Disc 1)
1-01 5th Quadrant [Mother Earth]
1-02 One Way Street [JTQ]
1-03 Stay This Way [Brand New Heavies]
1-04 Bolivia [Ulf Sandberg]
1-05 Anarchy In The UK [Snowboy]
1-06 Peace & Love [Cloud 9]
1-07 Unsettled Life (lesson 3) [Emperor’s New Clothes]
1-08 Find It [Mother Earth]
1-09 Lovesick [Night Trains]
1-10 The Ladder [One Creed]
1-11 Let The Good Times Roll [Quiet Boys]
1-12 London England [Corduroy]
1-13 Stories [Izit]
Track Listing: (Disc 2)
2-01 Living In The Ghetto [Gamut of Crime]
2-02 One Of Us [Gazelle]
2-03 No Such Thing [Jazz Con Bazz]
2-04 Coming From The Heart Of The Ghetto [Cunnie Williams]
2-05 America [No Se]
2-06 Soul Vibration [Poets of Peeze]
2-07 Verve [Slop Shop]
2-08 Still As One? [Fanfan la Tulipe]
2-09 Fresh In My Mind [A Forest Mighty Black]
2-10 Ten Thousand Miles Away [Miriam Bondy]
2-11 You Got The Best Of My Love [“T” and Da ‘Flo’]
2-12 T.I.O. [Spice]
2-13 Encounter [Supreme Chord Jester]
2-14 A Dream [Step Three feat. James B. More]