David Axelrod David Axelrod Review

BBC Review

...sweeping strings, dirty sax licks and gritty bass combined with intricate rolling...

Christian Hopwood 2002

Deeply rooted in the soul and jazz traditions David Axelrod has been making massive contributions to music since the 1950's. Producing jazz giants and Hollywood film stars, recording an album preaching environmental awareness long before Sting found his way in to the equatorial rainforests and writing and producing for The Electric Prunes form just a small part of his resume.

Now in his late 60's he maintains his form with this eponymous release on Mo Wax. This prowess has been recognised over the years with his back catalogue being sampled heavily by many hip hop artists. Lauren Hill used 'Tony Poem', a recording from the 1970's, in "Every Ghetto, Every City" which featured on the "Miseducation Of&" album whilst Dr Dre, Puff Daddy and DJ Shadow have all applied his sound to their music at some point in their careers.

Following the remix of UNKLE's "Rabbit In The Headlights" (Mo Wax boss) James Lavelle realising just how contemporary sounding Axelrod is, embarked upon this project to resurrect and re-vamp some of David's earlier work some of which are thirty years old. The results are fabulous; huge, sweeping strings, dirty sax licks and gritty bass combined with intricate rolling percussion flavour a record that is rich in ideas, space and funk.

Album opener "The Little Children" featuring the street poetry of LA rapper Ras Kaas is a reciprocal nod in the direction of the hip hop community. This fusion successfully bridges the genre divide by tapping in to the sensibilities of jazz and hip hop; musical movements that, in their roots, ultimately share similar attitudes and motivations. Through Axelrod's work it is easy to understand DJ Shadow's approach to percussion; live, raw and inventive. Is it any wonder that David Axelrod has been responsible for the firing up of a legion of samplers over the years? Cool name, cool tunes, cool album.

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