Madlib - Shades Of Blue - 2 x Vinyl LP
In Shades of Blue Madlib, hip-hop producer extraordinaire, tackles Blue Note's soul-jazz catalogue, enjoying free rein in the fabled label's vaults. On one level, the project makes perfect sense given Madlib's Yesterday's New Quintet work: he clearly has an ear for the Blue Note jazz aesthetic. The remixes and reinventions here are mostly pleasant and even surprising at times--get down with "Mystic Bounce", a flip on Ronnie Foster's "Mystic Brew". Yet some of these tracks seem a little too casual and undercooked, making Shades of Blue feel a bit too much like just another Madlib side project. In fact, Blue Note had already done a better job with this very same concept on their largely forgotten 1996 New Groove compilation, where artists such as Large Professor and the Roots took their stabs at the label's catalogue.