Jazz albums round-up
Friday 11 July 2003
You can imagine the modus operandi behind Ronny Jordan's At Last (Sony Jazz) all too well. First, the man with the crane comes and winches Ronny out of his bed at 3am and delivers him to the studio on a trolley. The technicians slip a guitar into his hands, while the producer whispers quietly into his ear, fearful lest he wake him up: "Funky, but not too funky, Ronny. Smooth, but not too smooth." At last they're ready, the backing track begins to roll, and Ronny comes in right on cue, not easy from a prone position. In the control booth afterwards, they all compliment the guitarist on another job well done, but Ronny is already back home in bed, dreaming of quavers.
It's 11 years since Ronny Jordan reached No 32 in the UK chart with his debut single, "So What", and in the interim nothing whatsoever has changed. The trademark sound is still one-part Wes Montgomery to two-parts George Benson, with Jordan's multi-octave thumb-strokes decorating easy on the ear, hip hop lite, backdrops. The new album sounds perfectly pleasant too, and if you heard it in a hairdresser's or a bar (and you probably will), you'd tap your foot quite happily. Good luck to him, you might say, if there wasn't something so insidiously soul-destroying about following a formula for more than a decade without even the teensiest sign of wanting to buck the trend: a wish to record with Derek Bailey, say, like Pat Metheny. You can hear the original model on The Very Best of George Benson: The Greatest Hits of All (Warner Bros), a great new 20-track compilation. It's another formula, but a better one.
It's 10 years since US 3's brilliant if overplayed hip-hop adaptations of classic hard bop hit the charts, and whether in celebration of the anniversary or not, the company has commissioned Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note by the artist known as Madlib (actually Otis Jackson Jnr, nephew of the jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis and son of the soul singer Otis Jackson). From tracks by the likes of Donald Byrd, Bobbi Humphrey, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, Reuben Wilson and Ronnie Foster, Madlib creates radical, vibrant and funky new soundscapes. Remarkably successful for a remix project.
tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader