There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
The divide between hiphop and jazz has proved to be more difficult to bridge than it should be. More often than not, practitioners of either craft who have tried to combine the two for popular consumption (Branford Marsalis, Guru, etc.) have fallen flat. Blue Note’s effort to repackage selections from its mid-’70s electric-jazz catalog as hiphop remixes is no exception. The label has merely dumbed down material from the vaults in an attempt to market it to people who are scared of jazz. I don’t need to hear Guru rapping over Gene Harris’ piano on “Listen Here,” nor do I need Mystic’s Gil Scott-Heron–wannabe monotone over Donald Byrd’s “Kofi.” I was especially disappointed with Easy Mo Bee, who masterfully produced Miles Davis’ foray into the murky in-between, his final record, Doo-Bop. His tinkering with Horace Silver’s “The Sophisticated Hippie” yields a persistent club beat and tons of synth noises that drown out Silver’s piano playing. It’s laughable to think that new music can be created from 20-year-old records; The New Groove reeks of the same high-concept vision that brought us “new” Beatles songs with John Lennon’s voice echoing from beyond the grave.—Eric Friedman