The subject is jazz, and that hip hop sound and drumbeat that is boom bap. Melting Pot Music’s Dexter is back with volume 3 in the label’s continuing High Hat Club series. The album is called The Jazz Files and it’s an amalgamation of jazz samples, heavy horns, keys, hip hop drumbeats, scratching and some memorable quotes from yesteryear. Personally I would call it more hip hop based on Jazz or hip hop incorporating Jazz than Jazz Files. I say this because the song structures are more akin to hip hop than to jazz. Jazz aficionados might like the combination of two artforms highlighting the mellowed side of hip hop whilst rap heads will keep their heads nodding to this. It’s a formula that is moody and mostly chilled and it works a treat.

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This new long player is just full of that late bar/wine bar musical goodness. I mean these jazzy beats are so good you wonder why no MC has blessed them yet. Maybe some will. I swear I could hear Q-Tip, Common and Madlib rapping somewhere between the staggered spoken word narratives. Perhaps that statement is a tad bit unfair as this album can and does stand on it’s own two.

The opening track is ‘The Future’, a track with a somewhat audacious and ambitious declaration that Dexter’s offering might be the future of jazz. As nice as this album is, it is not breaking new ground despite the quotes sampled. Hip Hop and Jazz has been a happy marriage through the years with commendable neo fusion albums by the likes of Gangstarr, Guru and his Jazzmatazz series of albums, Branford Marsalis, A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip in his Abstract productions amongst others. Perhaps it is unfair to weight Dexter’s shoulders with those heavyweights’ names. That aside ‘The Future’ is a dope opening track and one of the hightlights on the album. It sets the tone of the journey that Dexter takes you on as he fantasises and plays with some of his heroes.


The influences of Sun Ra and Wes Montgomery are acknowledged in the songs Montgomery and Spaceways. I’m thinking fans of experimental jazz artists like Sun Ra, Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders and perhaps Alice Coltrane may dig this album.

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‘Astro Thoughts’ is just a delightful song, one of those instant likables with a catchy piano riff that will have you whistling along whenever you hear it.

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Nice tunes are plenty dependent on your mood and taste but the same formula of beat over jazz samples with a few nice vocal snippets sprinkled on top can become predictable. However don’t let that be a determining or prejudicial factor as I found out the several times I listened to this album. Listening sometimes in the evenings I liked different songs to the ones I had liked listening in the mornings. Another thing I didn’t favour particularly was the length of the songs. Those of you who read my reviews regularly will know that I am a fan of a good chunk of song but that’s just me. The album is 15 songs long and the journey it takes you on is a smooth and mostly laid back bar the occasional uptempo track.

Buy the album on Hi-Hat


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