Madlib Shades Of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note on 2LP
Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note is a unique project from 2003 that turned over the legacy of the esteemed Blue Note jazz label to one of hip-hop's most unique artists, Madlib aka Otis Jackson, Jr. Madlib's ability to absorb his influences and reinterpret them in new forms made him the quintessential artist for a project of this conception. The idea for Shades of Blue was generated by the esteemed jazz imprint and Stones Throw Records head, Peanut Butter Wolf, both of whom were inspired by Madlib's YNQ project.
Shades of Blue isn't just a Blue Note cover album, it's a re-imagination of the Blue Note culture. Madlib draws from the label's music catalog, of course, but also its influence through the years, its history as a prestigious jazz house, the iconography associated with the label and its import on its own. Madlib covers some of his favorite songs from the Blue Note collection, which he cites as being influential to his development. "People say Blue Note was just a phase in hip-hop," Madlib said, referring to the era when groups like A Tribe Called Quest and Gang Starr would sample the label's sounds. "But music is either good music or bad music and I still listen to Blue Note. I still love it."
Some tracks like Donald Byrd's "Steppin' Into Tomorrow" are longtime favorites of his, and he considered their inclusion in this project as a no-brainer. On that song, Madlib gives an already funky tune a voluptuous hip-hop bump. On "Please Set Me At Ease," Madlib rigs a Bobbi Humphrey song into a groovy, soulful beat for rapper Medaphor to rhyme over. Horace Silver's "Song For My Father" was more personal. Not only has it been an everlasting favorite but he says it's his dedication to his own father, notable 70s soul singer, Otis Jackson, Sr.
Shades of Blue also includes the new song, "Funky Blue Note," that Madlib conceived as his ode to his favorite era of the label – the 1960s and 1970s. "I just wanted to show my side of understanding the music and bringing the same kind of sound," he said. "That's the sound I like from Blue Note. You were just free to do whatever ideas you wanted to do." The convergence of Madlib and Blue Note on this special project transcended the legacies and reputations of both entities. It's a special convocation. Alfred Lion and Francis Wolf would be proud.
Madlib Shades Of Blue - Madlib Invades Blue Note Track Listing:
2. Slim's Return
3. Distant Land (Hip Hop Drum Mix)
4. Mystic Bounce
6. Blue Note Interlude
7. Please Set Me At Ease
8. Funky Blue Note
9. Alfred Lion Interlude
1. Steppin' Into Tomorrow
2. Andrew Hill Break
4. Song For My Father
5. Footprints - Yesterdays New Quintet
6. Peace/Dolphin Dance