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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Various Artists – Droppin' Science: Greatest Samples from the Blue Note Lab (Blue Note, 2008)

This rather spurious collection brings together some of the tracks recorded for Blue Note records that have been most widely sampled by the hip-hop community. There’s some good music to be found here, especially in the grinding organ and sweet alto saxophone solo found on Lou Donaldson’s opener “It’s Your Thing” and on the Brother Jack McDuff organ groover “Oblighetto.” I have a soft spot for the funk Grant Green recorded during his second tenure with Blue Note, and “Down Here On the Ground” has some fine guitar playing. But none of these good tracks can make up for the disaster of Donald Byrd’s disco debacle “Think Twice”, a horror show of sickeningly sweet vocals, and cheesy stings. It’s no surprise that Blue Note’s music is revered by hip-hop practitioners, all thoughtful music fans have a special place in their hearts for the music made by this historic label. That feeling of affection would expand even more if they would stop releasing unnecessary collections like this and instead spend their time and money promoting young, talented and living musicians.

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