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*** 1/2 VARIOUS ARTISTS, "The New Groove--The Blue Note Remix Project", Blue Note

June 09, 1996|Cheo Hodari Coker

It's rare that jazz and hip-hop, two black urban art forms that value spontaneous invention, ever meet on equal footing. Certain rap groups (A Tribe Called Quest and Gangstarr in particular) have mastered the use of jazz bass lines and horn riffs to flavor their rhythmic compositions. But usually the records are a jumbled mess, with the lyricists and instrumentalists fighting against each other for creative domination.

"The New Groove--The Blue Note Remix Project" finally offers the perfect solution. Rather than spoil the soup with too many cooks (i.e. lyricists), Blue Note Records handed over classic masters by Grant Green, Horace Silver and Cannonball Adderley to some of rap's most innovative producers.

The results are wonderful, bass-heavy remixes that reinterpret without sacrificing the delicate elements that made the featured songs classics in the first place. Diamond D's bubbling interpretation of Ronnie Foster's "Summer Song," Ummah's sleek revision of Grant Green's "Down Here on the Ground" and the Roots' sultry spin on Bobby Hutcherson's "Montara" offer sonic reinterpretations that will open closed minds and silence pundits on either side of the generation gap.

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Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good), four stars (excellent).

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* TimesLine 808-8463

To hear excerpts from the albums reviewed, call TimesLine and press * and the artist's corresponding four-digit code.

"The New Groove" *5720

In 805 area code, call (818) 808-8463.

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