Shades of Blue – Madlib Invades Blue Note (originally released June, 2003) will be re-released on newly remastered vinyl on May 27th as part of Blue Note’s 75th Anniversary Vinyl Initiative. “Two years ago, we decided to begin remastering the jewels of the Blue Note catalog in hi-def resolutions of 96k and 192k. In order to develop a guiding artistic philosophy for this delicate endeavor, we donned our lab coats, ran dozens of sonic experiments and carefully referenced every generation of our reissues. Ultimately, we decided that our goal would be to protect the original intentions of the artists, producers and engineers who made these records and that, in the case of pre-digital-era albums, these intentions were best represented by the sound and feel of their first-edition vinyl releases. Working with a team of dedicated and groovy engineers, we found a sound that both captured the feel of the original records while maintaining the depth and transparency of the master tapes… the new remasters are really cool!” says Don Was, President, Blue Note Records
Having the rare chance to invade the iconic Blue Note Records archives for a one-of-a-kind remix project, producer Madlib (Otis Jackson, Jr.) was uniquely positioned to reach a wide audience by reinterpreting such Blue Note classics as Donald Byrd’s “Distant Land,” Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father,” and Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints.”
Not only did the California native, who was born in 1973, tip his hat to early veterans of the genre known as jazz, he also appealed to hip hop purists by creating a singular instrumental hip hop art.
After the intro, alerting listeners to get ready for a “cooking” session and have a ball, Madlib presents “Slim’s Return,” originally recorded by Gene Harris & The Three Sounds as “Book of Slim,” which contains samples from Milt Jackson’s as “People Make the World Go Around” with vibes by Ahmad Miller and scratches by DJ Lord Such.
Although, early on Madlib was well-known as a hip producer and rapper, it is his wide ranging compositional style that helped make him a first-call producer. From there, he blossomed into a high caliber multi-genre producer.
This avid crate digger, with his Yesterday’s New Quintet project (infusing jazz, hip hop, and electronics) in 2000, played all the instruments himself, and revealed an exploration of jazz that truly sparked equally inspired future works.
By remaining true to his hip hop roots, while embracing his affection and love of jazz and soul, with Shades of Blue, Madlib has created a document of brilliant music that will stand the test of time. The album definitely tells a compelling story from start to finish.
Piñata, the studio album by Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs and Madlib was released on March 18, 2014, on Madlib Invazion. Produced by Madlib, the 17-track LP features work from Danny Brown, Scarface, BJ the Chicago Kid and Mac Miller, among others.
Robin James welcomes reader responses to [email protected].