The name Bob James should be familiar to every hip hop head out there. The legendary keyboardist was one of the originators of the 70s jazz-funk sound, turning out a wealth of covers and original material for labels like CTI, RCA, and his own Tappan Zee Records. His early recordings have been heavily sampled, while his tunes "Nautilus" and "(Take Me To The) Mardi Gras" are two of the most revered B-boy classics, acknowledged as musical foundations of the hip hop movement. Until now there has not been a comprehensive collection of these recordings, the raw and funky side of Bob James. At the time his weapon of choice was the Rhodes electric piano, which in later years would give way to a more synthesized, smooth jazz sound. But we're here for the rougher, groove based cuts. The records that hip hop's pioneering producers were pulling out of their parent's record collections and plundering samples from. Compiled by Andrew Mason (TTL homie Monk One), Rhodes Scholar serves up the funk infused cuts of James' early recordings, neatly trimming the smooth jazz fat of his later years. These are the keyboardist's heaviest (and most heavily sampled cuts). Anyone from fans of hip hop acts like Run-DMC, De La Soul, Wu-Tang Clan and Souls Of Mischief, to dance music heads familiar with Moodymann, Dmitri From Paris and Royksopp will hear the sources of some of their biggest tracks. Needless to say, this compilation has been on heavy rotation at HQ. Includes previously unseen vintage photos, plus detailed liner notes by Mason with comments from Bob James himself. Triple LP housed in a gatefold sleeve. Recommended.
- music label: Decision 2013
reviewed by Michu Meszaros 09/2013
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