Jazzy Jeff The Magnificent Review

Album. Released 20 August 2002.  

BBC Review

Debut album from the legendary turntablist and producer Jazzy Jeff. The cream of hip...

Andy Puleston 2002

For many the enduring memory of Jazzy Jeff will be as Will Smith's bumbling sidekick on his hit US TV show. However, prior to the commissioning of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air it was Mr Smith who rode in the back seat as Jeff's masterful turntable skillsgained them both crowds and a reputation in the early days of their partnership.

Departing Bel Air a household name with 10 million albums and 3 Grammies, Jeff withdrew from the media spotlight to pursue the role of producer returning to Philadelphia to set up A Touch of Jazz. This full scale production unit houses a team of producers and under his guidance has been responsible for some seminal releases. Remember Who Is Jill Scott? That was one of theirs... in fact Jeff mixed the entire album under a pseudonym.

Believe it or not, The Magnificent is Jeff's debut solo album and its title is not without good reason. Here we have the cream of hip hop, soul and R&B talent brought together to pay homage to the musical heritage of Philadelphia. It will come as no surprise to learn that Jill Scott puts in an appearance, returning the favour in style on "We Live In Philly". Funky bass and distinctive strings create a luscious backdrop for Jill's breezypoetry as she recalls life in her hometown.

Baby Blak and Pauly Yamz turn in a fine performance on "For Da Love of Da Game". According tothe sleeve notes they wrote this in an hour and it does shine through as one of those tracks that was just meant to be. The jazzy guitar, the soulful backing vocal and tight rhyming all gel very nicely as they pay their respects to mother hip hop.

No Jazzy Jeff record would be complete without a bit of deck wreckin from the man himself and on "Worldwide" he really gives the faders a proper hammering. Ostensibly this is a Blak and Yamz track but it is Jeff who steals the show with his phenomenal stylus demolition.

Old friend and Nu Yorican Soul partner Lil Louis Vega steps in for the final track "In Time". An album celebrating the music of Philadelphia would be doing the city a huge injustice were it not to include a little deep house and this shuffling, feel good groove brings the record to a close on a high note.

So, what else is there to say? Jeff is a remarkable talent making cool records... magnificent by name magnificent.. oh, you get the idea.

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