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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Jazzanova website  Jazzanova - In Between [Jazzanova Compost Records - 2002]

Well, it must be clear now. Nu-jazz is taking over. Jaga Jazzist, Cinematic Orchestra, Nils Petter Molvær and also not-Norwegian artists are pushing the boundaries of jazz further and further. The German producer- and DJ collective Jazzanova was there before, and might just be the forefathers of the increasing popularity of this style. Yet, In Between is their actual debut album, if we do not count the 12" and the disc with remixes. I just followed the trend and picked up this album, and it seems (for now) that the possibilities within this so-called nu-jazz genre are almost unlimited.

If the music can't be classified as "art" already, than the booklet can. Six layers of cut-out squares in a geometric design with all kinds of photographic art inside; I wonder if they haven't been putting more time in this package than in the music… But let's concentrate on the music instead, please. We might want to start "CD Packages Magazine" at a later stage (no doubt this disc and some Constellation bands will score a lot of kudos here).

It comes as no surprise that these DJ’s packed this jazz record with somewhat danceable or relaxing beats and samples, but most of the 17 tracks / 74 minutes are actually real songs, using diverse vocalists and styles. The first track L.o.v.e. And You & I is an almost 8 minute long relaxing typical nu-jazz track, with outstanding vibraphone work by David Friedman sets the tone for the rest of the album. If I was Jazzanova, I would suggest the next track No Use as single. The soulful vocals of Clara Hill make this one of the best tracks on the album, together with Soon (which was released as single in three different versions) and Keep Falling. The latter features Ursula Rucker as female voice and Hawkeye Phanatic performing the rap part.

Because Jazzanova uses a lot of different styles (hip hop, drum & bass, funk, latin, soul and of course jazz) and vocalists – both male and female - alongside the computerized music makes this very varied and organic. But that’s necessary when you make an album lasting more than 70 minutes. Short fillers every two or three tracks are nice to keep the listener awake, but do not add much to the real album. That’s probably the only bad point I can find.

Jazzanova have released an album that certainly will end up as one of the best jazz records of the year. Let me remind you that this is just a debut album, and there’s probably more to come. In the meantime, check out In Between; its diversity and agility will set new standards in the genre.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Justin Faase
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