In 2017, the Los Angeles promoter Andrew Lojero had an concept for a brand new jazz live performance collection. Along with A Tribe Called Quest DJ-producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad and prolific R&B and hip-hop composer-producer Adrian Younge — the duo behind throwback soul venture the Midnight Hour and the Luke Cage soundtrack — he started placing collectively payments that includes esteemed jazz veterans reminiscent of Roy Ayers and Gary Bartz, and rising stars of the style like Keyon Herrold. Lojero dubbed the collection Jazz Is Dead.
“I thought the name was bold, provocative and exactly what was needed to stir things up,” Muhammad writes in an e-mail. “For us it’s more than a show; it’s a celebration of our treasured bastions of freedom.”
Now, three years later, the group is furthering the venture with the launch of a brand new label bearing the identical identify. The first launch, Jazz Is Dead 001 — formally out March 20th and premiering beneath — is a compilation on which Younge and Muhammad group up with their musical heroes to create brand-new tracks.
The observe record is studded with artists who’ve been sampled for years by hip-hop heavyweights reminiscent of A Tribe Called Quest, Dr. Dre, Nas, and J Dilla: jazz-funk vibraphonist Ayers; Bartz, the saxophonist, NTU Troop chief, and onetime Miles Davis sideman; Brian Jackson, who collaborated with Gil Scott-Heron on an extended string of landmark Seventies albums; bossa nova luminaries João Donato and Marcos Valle; keyboardist Doug Carn, whose Seventies LPs on Oakland’s Black Jazz label are extremely prized by crate diggers; and Brazilian jazz-funk outfit Azymuth.
“We want them to feel the love for what they have given us in a time where a spotlight may not be shining brightly on their works,” Muhammad says of the artists featured on Jazz Is Dead 001.
Every one of many tracks — from “Distant Mode,” on which Bartz’s alto sax dances over a simmering groove to “Down Deep,” a fantastically chill ballad that includes Carn’s potent Hammond B3 organ — was a full collaboration between the featured artist, and Muhammad and Younge, each of whom play keys, guitar, bass, and extra on the report. (Various different musicians contribute drums, vocals, horns, and keys all through.) A balmy title observe, “Jazz Is Dead,” by Muhammad and Younge’s personal the Midnight Hour, rounds out the album.
“To see Ali with Gary Bartz or João Donato, two artists that meant so much to A Tribe Called Quest, is crazy,” Younge writes, reflecting on the classes that went into Jazz Is Dead 001. “When they sampled their compositions, they never thought it would come full circle. I never thought I’d be sitting in the studio with Marcos Valle or Lonnie Liston, writing with Brian Jackson and Azymuth; writing with Jean Carne and Doug Carn. It’s insane. It’s as if my career was meant for this moment.”
“Seeing someone that you sampled long ago blowing fresh notes onto something we have written just for them was emotional,” Muhammad provides. “Admiring the way they are playing right in front of your eyes when at one time it was a dream to wonder what they were thinking about when they recorded their songs. Feeling humbled at the respect they give us for the music that we have made for them. Wondering how this wave of new music will be transferred by the next generation.”
Jazz Is Dead 001 is merely a prelude for the label. Later this 12 months, they’ll reveal seven full-length albums, one that includes every of the company heard on the comp. They’re additionally planning stay reveals that includes artists from their roster and different like-minded musicians. To study extra about all upcoming Jazz Is Dead actions, go to their website or Instagram page.