Friday, September 19, 2008

Global Noize - fantastic intro to downtempo jazz and collaboration worth listening to

Downtempo listeners are open to the wonders of the musical world. For those who have not yet stepped into jazz, Global Noize offers a fantastic bridge between a traditional electronica perception of downtempo to the foundation of most contemporary American music (JAZZ!) by creating an album that melds electro-funk, trip-hop, jazz and eclectic world influences. As globalization makes its impact on U.S. culture through technology, the economy and pop culture, artists, such as Global Noize, are increasingly blending sounds to blur the lines of what we know as traditional music genres.

Grammy Award-winning producer and keyboardist Jason Miles joins with veteran jazz turntablist DJ Logic to create Global Noize. Through Global Noize, veteran musicians contribute their unique styles to create a journey through global sounds. Members and contributors include Me’shell Ndegeocello, Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin & Wood), Vernon Reid (Living Colour), John Popper (Blues Traveler) Cyro Baptista (Herbie Hancock), Bernie Worrell (Talking Heads, Parliament Funk), Karl Denson (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Lenny Kravtiz) and more.

Global Noize’s recent self-titled release recognizes influences from around the world. “A Jam For Joe” and “Bollywood” mix many genres including funk, electronica and jazz and ties it all together with Indian subtleties, beats and vocals from Indian crooner Falu. On “Spice Island,” Caribbean steel drums steal DJ Logic’s thunder as he scratches along with the light twang of steel beats and a smooth, shining jazz keyboard. “Spice Island” is like a Jimmy Buffet concert commandeered by local Caribbean musicians.

The Arab nations even get a nod on “The Souk,” a lounging track build around a deep bass beat and downtempo keyboard sequence. Falu brings Indian vocals to the mix and though her influence tips this towards India, the Arab influence cannot be missed, most literally, by the meaning of the word “souk” – a commercial section of cities that were originally created by roaming gypsies and Arab traders. “Quero Dancer” is a jazzy dance track that could steady the pulse of any Ibiza dance clubber. It helps that “Quero Dancer” is sung in Spanish (or Portuguese? as one reviewer notes). This is a true lounge track with dreamy keyboards and jazz guitar that complete the Southwestern European vibe.

And of course, we cannot forget the influence of the U.S. of A. Very often, when music is described, you never hear about its American vibe. World music often gets the most attention through written word. Perhaps rightfully so. Though we must remember the U.S. root of Global Noize: it’s Jazz. Every track is built on this foundation, though “Planetary Beats” and “Spin Cycle” are two of the jazziest tracks at their core, with nearly all instruments (drums, horns, guitar, keyboard) kicking a funk or jazz beat. Both tracks also highlight DJ Logic’s turnablist maneuvers.

Global Noize is a successful collaboration of musicians birthed from various world influences. At its core, it remains true to its jazz “raison d’etre.” The musicians set the stage, and listeners can identify all the global noise they want.

(Review written by Downbeatscape for

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