“Tom “Squarepusher” Jenkinson makes manic, schizoid experimental drum’n’bass with a heavy progressive jazz influence and a lean toward pushing the clichés of the genre out the proverbial window. Rising from near-total obscurity to drum’n’bass cause célèbre in the space of a couple of months, Jenkinson released only a pair of EPs and a DJ Food remix for the latter’s Refried Food series before securing EP and LP release plans with three different labels. His first full-length work, Feed Me Weird Things (on Richard “Aphex Twin” James’ Rephlex label), was a dizzying, quixotic blend of super-fast jungle breaks with Aphex-style synth textures, goofy, offbeat melodies, and instrumental arrangements (arrangements samples his own playing for his tracks) that recall vaguely jazz fusion pioneers such as Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report. A skilled bassist and multi-instrumentalist, Jenkinson’s fretless accompaniment is a staple of his music and one of the more obvious affiliations with jazz (although his formal arrangements are often as jazz-derived as his playing).”
“Revered in soul-jazz circles, Richard “Groove” Holmes was an unapologetically swinging Jimmy Smith admirer who could effortlessly move from the grittiest of blues to the most sentimental of ballads. Holmes, a very accessible, straightforward and warm player who was especially popular in the black community, had been well respected on the Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey circuit by the time he signed with Pacific Jazz in the early ’60s and started receiving national attention by recording with such greats as Ben Webster and Gene Ammons. Holmes, best known for his hit 1965 version of “Misty,” engaged in some inspired organ battles with Jimmy McGriff in the early ’70s before turning to electric keyboards and fusion-ish material a few years later. The organ was Holmes’ priority in the mid- to late ’80s, when he recorded for Muse (he also had stints throughout his career with Prestige Records and Groove Merchant) . Holmes was still delivering high-quality soul-jazz for Muse (often featuring tenor titan Houston Person) when a heart attack claimed his life at the age of 60 in 1991 after a long struggle with prostrate cancer. He was a musician to the end, playing his last shows in a wheelchair.”
“Osunlade was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He composed music for Sesame Street during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Afterward, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he worked with artists such as Patti Labelle and Freddie Jackson. After a stint there, he moved to New York, where he founded Yoruba Records. To date he has worked with such artists as Roy Ayers, Nkemdi, Salif Keita, and Cesária Évora. In 2006, he released an album titled Aquarian Moon, in 2007, he released an album titled Elements Beyond on the revived Strictly Rhythm Records, and, in 2009, he released the album Passage. He is a priest of the Yoruba religion of Ifá. Because of his beliefs, Osunlade’s music has a deep spiritual root in Yoruba traditions that are also reflected in the name of his record label, album covers, and also the titles of some of the tracks he has remixed such as “Obatala y Oduduwa” and “Yemeya.”“
Sly and Robbie is the prolific Jamaican rhythm section and production team of drummer Sly Dunbar (Lowell Dunbar) (b. 10 May 1952) bassist Robbie Shakespeare (Robert Shakespear) (b. 27 September 1953) who joined in the mid 1970s after having established themselves separately in Jamaica as professional musicians. Sly and Robbie are estimated to have played on or produced 200,000 recordings. Many of them on their own label Taxi Records.
“Best known for recording the hit theme to Soul Train, MFSB were the pre-eminent instrumental outfit of Philadelphia soul, backing numerous Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff productions while recording regularly on their own throughout the ’70s. The group’s name stood for Mother Father Sister Brother, and prior to their formation in 1971 as the house band at Gamble and Huff’s Sigma Sound studios, some of the core personnel had been working together as early as 1968. Guitarists Norman Harris and Bobby Eli, bassist Ronnie Baker, and drummer Earl Young had an uncredited dance hit with “The Horse,” the instrumental flip side of singer Cliff Nobles’ “Love Is All Right.” As the Horse dance craze swept Philadelphia, the group also backed singers the Fantastic Johnny C and (as the James Boys) Jesse James, while also issuing singles as the Music Makers and Family.”
“Led by drummer/arranger Chris Hills, the Players Association was an obscure late-’70s, early-’80s outfit that specialized in a jazz-influenced style of disco-funk. Major jazz musicians like Michael Brecker, David Sanborn, Joe Farrell, and Tom Harrell appeared on its albums, but the New York band never catered to jazz’s hardcore; its main focus was disco-funk with jazz overtones, although the Association occasionally detoured into instrumental jazz-pop and quiet storm/NAC music. The Association never became well known, and its recordings received very little radio airplay; however, it did enjoy a small underground following among danceclub DJs. The Players Association signed with Vanguard in 1977, and the band recorded five albums before calling it quits in 1981: 1977’s The Players Association, 1978’s Born to Dance, 1979’s Turn the Music Up! 1980’s We Got the Groove, and 1981’s Let Your Body Go.”
“Shalamar’s string of poppy dance-soul hits began in 1979 with “Take That to the Bank”; later that year, “The Second Time Around” hit the Top Ten. Throughout the early ’80s the group were favorites on the U.S. R&B scene, as well as scoring a number of British hit singles. Watley and Daniels left the group in 1982 and were replaced by Delisa Davis and Micki Free in 1984; Watley went on to stardom as a solo act. The following year Shalamar won a Grammy award for “Don’t Get Stopped in Beverly Hills,” which was featured in Beverly Hills Cop. Hewitt left for a solo career in 1986, signaling the end of the band’s career as hit-makers. Sidney Justin replaced Hewitt and the group recorded 1987’s Circumstantial Evidence, which was a commercial disappointment. The group faded away soon after the release of 1990’s Wake Up.”
“Herbert Jeffrey “Herbie” Hancock (b. April 12, 1940) is an American pianist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis’s “second great quintet,” Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the “post-bop” sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace music synthesizers and funk music (characterized by syncopated drum beats). Hancock’s music is often melodic and accessible; he has had many songs “cross over” and achieved success among pop audiences. His music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. In his jazz improvisation, he possesses a unique creative blend of jazz, blues, and modern classical music, with harmonic stylings much like the styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
Hancock’s best-known solo works include “Cantaloupe Island”, “Watermelon Man” (later performed by dozens of musicians, including bandleader Mongo Santamaría), “Maiden Voyage”, “Chameleon”, and the singles “I Thought It Was You” and “Rockit”. His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award after Getz/Gilberto in 1965.
As a member of Soka Gakkai, Hancock is an adherent of the Nichiren school of Mahayana Buddhism.
On 22 July 2011 at a ceremony in Paris, Hancock was named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of Intercultural Dialogue.”
“Boards of Canada are the duo of Michael Sandison (born July 14, 1971) and Marcus Eoin (born May 27, 1973). Based on the northern coast of Scotland, the group got its start on acclaimed experimental electronica label Skam in 1996 after recording an obscene number of tracks and pressing the best of them up as a miniscule-run 12”, Twoism, an eight-track promo EP the group sent to labels in lieu of a demonstration tape. The pair’s first official release appeared on Skam toward the middle of 1996, and was quickly hailed as among the label’s finest releases to date. Titled Hi Scores, the EP is an engaging mix of simple, infectious three-part synth melodies, subtle hip-hop and electro references, and alternately tense and relaxing beatwork endlessly repeated in shifting combinations (à la Autechre, Bochum Welt, and Cylob). Almost a mini-LP at six tracks and nearly half an hour in length, the debut was followed in late 1996 by a series of live gigs opening for Plaid and Autechre, as well as compilation tracks for Uvm and Skam/Musik Aus Strom side project label Mask (under the name Hellinterface).”