In Between
Record label: JCR (Germany) / Ropeadope (USA)
Format: 3xLP/CD
Germany Release date: 29 April 2002
US Release date: 16 July 2002

Jazzanova's previous single ("That Night") was the perfect release to get us ready for the debut album. It forced us to break free of the idea of a signature sound. In Between shows the six-man collective in the throes of diverse musical expression and loving every minute. Many different sounds are incorporated with confidence and ambition. The opening cut, "L.O.V.E. and You and I" is programming genius, flipping through samples with ease and stringing them together so well that you really have to wonder how long it took these guys to sequence the whole thing. Need some inspiration for waking up in the morning? Try "Another New Day," mid-tempo instrumental positive vibes that never fail to bring a smile to one's face. Jazzanova is so on-point, even their interludes are fly. The 40-second "Fade Out" is prime evidence, making a sonic patchwork quilt of the endings of several songs. "Cyclic" is another example, spanning a 24-hour period in under a minute.

While Jazzanova certainly shine on their own, collaborations always bring out the best in them, as evidenced by the vocal talents gracing the album. Female sirens and scribes come wonderfully varied, from Desney Bailey and Clara Hill's sweet harmonies ("Takes You Back" and "No Use," respectively) to Ursula Rucker's subtle yet stealth poetics ("Keep Falling") to Valerie Etienne ringing out over energetic, fragmented jazz fusion ("Mwela, Mwela"). The brothers ain't too shabby, either. King Britt's homeboy Capital A drops some verses on "The One-Tet," sounding much stronger and more confident than on the Sylk 130 projects. Doug Hammond is smooth and in control on "Dance The Dance" and Vikter Duplaix remains the man of the hour with the golden throat. Just like "That Night," Jazzanova compliments him well on "Soon" and "Wasted Time." Different vocalists require different musical structures, and Jazzanova is able to tailor themselves without losing their own identity. Not easy to do, but they make it look simple. It's taken a long time to them to bless us with a full-length, but it was worth the wait. The sky's the limit for these guys, and they are clearly setting the tone and upping the ante for others to follow.

{cali ginseng}

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