Reviews

Yesterdays New Quintet

Yesterdays New Quintet's Stevie originally began life in late 2002 as a promo-only CD manufactured by Triple Five Soul, given out through its Website, and occasionally sold during Stones Throw showcases. Its limited availability turned it into a collector's item, fetching upward of three figures in online auctions, which eventually convinced Stones Throw to press it up for commercial release.

The self-proclaimed Loop Digga's stylistic quirk with this recording is replicating early-Seventies performers such as Ronnie Foster and Charles Earland, who turned popular standards into mellifluous instrumental escapades that often teetered between brightly rendered soul-jazz and nondescript Muzak. Not surprisingly, Yesterdays New Quintet can be just as erratic, though Stevie is much more consistent than its predecessor, 2001's Angles Without Edges. Part of its charm is in hearing Madlib add new arrangements -- and life -- to classics such as "Superstition," which he slows down to a grinding halt while adding shakers, and "I Am Singing," which he laces with tasty rim shots. Its chief asset, however, is shedding new light on the psychedelic, kaleidoscopic world of one of the best and most prolific producers in hip-hop today.

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Mosi Reeves
Contact: Mosi Reeves