Guru – Jazzmatazz (1993)

FrontCover1Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 is a jazz rap album by alternative hip hop artist Guru, released on May 18, 1993 (see 1993 in music) on Chrysalis Records. This album is one of the first albums to combine a live jazz band with hip hop production and rapping. It is the first such project to feature established rappers. Live backing is provided by a band that includes Lonnie Liston Smith, Branford Marsalis, Ronny Jordan, Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers. The album also features vocal collaborations with Carleen Anderson, N’Dea Davenport (of the Brand New Heavies) Dee C Lee and French rapper MC Solaar. The variety of guest artists adds diversity and originality to each track, and gives the album a distinct jazz feel.

Guru, quoted in the album’s liner notes, talked about his natural affinity for both jazz and rap. “Jazz’s mellow tracks, along with the hard rap beat, go hand-in-glove with my voice,” he said.

Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 peaked at #24 and #91 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums and the Billboard 200 albums charts. The single “Trust Me” peaked at #50 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles & Tracks chart. In spite of the lagging American sales, Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 was a commercial success in Europe, where jazz was much more popular in the 1990s.

The song “When You’re Near Me” was featured in Cindy Crawford’s video “The Next Challenge”. (by wikipedia)

Carleen Anderson (vocals on 12.)
Roy Ayers (vibraslap, vibraphone on 08.)
Gary Barnacle (flute, saxophone on 10.)
Zachary Breaux (guitar on 04.)
Donald Byrd (piano, trumpet on 02.)
Lil’ Dap (drums)
N’Dea Davenport (vocals on 03., 09.)
Guru (vocals)
Black Jack (vocals)
DJ Jimmy Jay (scratches)
Ronny Jordan (guitar on 05.)
Simon “The Funky Ginger” Law (keyboards on 03., 12.)
D.C. Lee (vocals on 05.)
Courtney Pine (flute, saxophone on 12,)
Branford Marsalis (saxophone on 04.)
Mickey “Mus Mus” (vocals)
DJ Jazzy Nice (scratches)
Big Shug (vocals on 05.)
Lonnie Liston Smith (keyboards on 06.)
MC Solaar (vocals on 11.)
The Cutthroats (vocals)

01. Introduction 1.20
02. Loungin’ 4.38
03. When You’re Near 4.02
04. Transit Ride 3,58
05. No Time To Play 4.54
06. Down The Backstreets 4.47
07. Respectful Dedications 0.54
08. Take A Look (At Yourself) 3.59
09. Trust Me 4.27
10. Slicker Than Most 2.35
11. Le Bien, Le Mal (with MC Solaar) 3.21
12. Sights In The City 5.10