Sitting back trying to think of something fun and challenging I could do on the site with my music collection? The idea of picking various artists and selecting five songs that capture the essence of their sound got me excited! I took a scan of my music and a few artists jumped out at me. So now I just need a name?
The Legendary Roots Crew! I first caught them live for the “Roots Come Alive” tour. For Hip-Hop they are the best I’ve ever seen live. Nothing touches live instrumentation in concert plus Black Thought is a true MC so it’s perfection. There are not many hip hop acts that can follow the Roots. I chose this picture because it represents the line-up I was first introduced to. Today most folks know them from being the house band for the “Jimmy Fallon Show” which garners them a very large audience. Yet album wise they are pretty slept on even though critically acclaimed. That has always ticked me off because bubble gum artist blow up but the real struggle many times to get props. That unfortunately is the case for many truly great artists. It’s not until after their career is over that they get the props they never received while actively putting out music. They have a ton of gems in their catalog and it was hard to pick five. I kept it clean so here are my picks…
- Notic – (Men In Black Soundtrack)
- Doin It Again – How I Got Over
- Guns Are Drawn – The Tipping Point
- One Shine – Illadelph Halftime
- Complexity – Phrenology
I had to do one on Jazz Bass legend Charles Mingus. The Bass is the backbone better yet the glue to all soulful music. In Jazz cats that play Brass seems to get all the love but the Bass is huge and Jazz wouldn’t be the same without it. Mingus not only held it down on Bass but also pushed the envelope diving into styles that went against the norms of Jazz. I have read he wouldn’t compromise his music and I really admire that! A lot of performers due to financial pressure have no choice, so no compromise is not a stance everyone can take. Putting this one out there in hopes that some would search out his work and possibly add to their collection? Mingus has a pretty large catalog so start with “AH UM” or “Mingus Mingus Mingus, Mingus Mingus” and build from there.
- II B.S – Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
- Cumbia and Jazz Fusion – Cumbia and Jazz Fusion
- Ysabel’s Table Dance – New Tijuana Moods
- Goodbye Pork Pie Hat – AH UM
- Remember Rockefeller at Attica – Changes One
Blue Six is Jay Denes. Jay Denes not only produces Blue Six but is one of the founders of the famed Naked Music Label. Blue Six and the Naked Music label has influenced House music in a major way. Blue Six puts out consistent high quality music that happens to be House. The album “Beautiful Tomorrow” was one of the first truly cohesive sexy house albums to be released…Truly a must have. Check out Blue Six and the many great releases on the Naked Music Label.
- You Just Can’t Stop – Aquarian Angel
- Jet Black – Signs and Wonders
- Pure – Beautiful Tomorrow
- You Use To Rock – Noesis
- Love Yourself (Basti & Vincenzo Remix) – Beautiful Tomorrow
Miguel Migs aka Petalpusher is a DJ, Musician and Producer. Hailing from Northern California he played a huge role in blowing up the San Francisco House scene in the early 2000s. He also consistently creates high quality music that happens to be house. His diverse musical background is becoming more apparent in his production. Showing he is not just a good House Music Producer but a good Music Producer! Pick up “Colorful You” and go from there.
- Breakin It Down – Colorful You
- Sail On – Dim Division
- Getaway – Outside The Skyline
- Mesmerized – Those Things
- They Don’t Know – Outside The Skyline
Probably the most influential music figure of the last century. He was a prolific artist and I can’t really do him justice with five tracks…His career spanned over 5 decades! However I will stay with the theme…Now I only own a fraction of his releases so Davis enthusiasts don’t jump all over me. I did not include his Jazz fusion work which I am a fan of…I will leave that up to you. If you know the name but not the music this is a great starting point. Jazz is a great American Art form and we should show it more LOVE!!!
Go out and dig!
- All Blues – Kind of Blue
- Sweet Sue, Just You – Round About Midnight
- Pfrancing – Someday My Prince Will Come
- Summertime – Porgy and Bess
- Miles Ahead – Miles Ahead
Bob Marley & The Wailers
Bob Marley is a Legend. In the states no matter what your background most folks know Bob Marley or I would think have at least heard of him. I mean you hear his music in commercials, department stores and restaurants. But I ask the question how many folks actually own his music? Look when you collect music like me you always peep out other people’s music collection. Hey a person’s tunes/musical taste tells you something about that person. Anyway I never see his CDs /Albums at anyone’s crib unless they are a serious music fan. Why? That in itself is a whole other discussion. Look all I am saying is get some of his albums into your collection. I suggest starting out with “Kaya” or “Exodus” and go from there.
- Johnny Was – Rastaman Vibration
- Pimper’s Paradise – Uprising
- Punky Reggae Party – Exodus
- She’s Gone – Kaya
- Them Belly Full (But We Hungry) – Natty Dread
I think this young cat is really good. I believe he will be a legend. I know that is high praise but he just seems to have that something special you don’t hear every day. When you get to be my age and collect as much as I do you know it when you hear it. Many that don’t know his music may know him via social media for women he has dated. Skip that stuff, check his tunes, I highly suggest it! His latest 2014 album is not my taste as leans to much towards country/folk. Not knocking country/folk…it’s just not my cup of tea. Pick up “Room for Squares” and go from there.
- War of my Life – Battle Studies
- City Love – Room For Squares
- Vultures -Continuum
- Something’s Missing –Heavier Things
- Love is a Verb – Born and Raised
Tight band from London with front man Jay Kay. Their sound is Funk, Soul, Dance, Rhythm and Blues with a little Reggae thrown in. I bought their first album ‘Emergency on Planet Earth” the same day I bought “Brother Sister” by the Brand New Heavies. Their music has been in heavy rotation with me ever since. A well known band world-wide however in casual conversations with people it seems like folks only know “Virtual Insanity”? I don’t get that because they have a very solid music catalog and unlike other artists listed in “5 Gems” they have a ton of good remixes on various songs. So with that said I included an Acoustic remix of one of their songs in the track listing. I hope this band gets added to your rotation.
- When You Gonna Learn (Digeridoo) – Emergency on Planet Earth
- Mr. Moon – The Return of the Space Cowboy
- Destitute Illusions – Synkronized
- Love Foolosophy (Mondo Grosso Love Acoustic Mix) /Original on “A Funk Odyssey”
- Everyday – Traveling Without Moving
I get it…Kravitz has a rock edge and for a lot of brothers that puts them off. Brothers open your mind and don’t be so quick to dismiss. Many would be surprised to know how much soulful, funky stuff he has in his catalog. His rock stuff isn’t bad either. Kravitz is legit and been doing it for a long time. If you have been on the fence start with the album “Are you gonna go my way” and go from there.
- My Precious Love – Let Love Rule
- Eleutheria – Are You Gonna Go My Way
- Let’s Get High – Lenny
- Beyond the 7th Sky – Circus
- It’s Your Life – 5
Thievery Corporation is Rob Garza and Eric Hilton. They Produce/DJ and put their music out on their own Eighteenth Street Lounge label. I believe they have been putting out music since 1996. It’s hard to put a label on them. I often read there sound sits between Trip Hop and Acid Jazz? I just think it grooves and feels good. I have been listening to them since I picked up “Sounds from the Thievery Hi – Fi”. I am ashamed to say I have never seen them in concert but hear the shows are amazing. To start your collection I would suggest the albums “Richest Man in Babylon” and “The Mirror Conspiracy” and go from there.
- All that we perceive – Richest Man in Babylon
- Overstand – Culture of Fear
- That Time We Lost Our Way – The Cosmic Game
- Lebanese Blonde – The Mirror Conspiracy
- Incident at Gate 7 – Sounds from Thievery Hi Fi
“It’s mostly the voice that get’s you up”…Guru. Her voice is unforgettable but she is more than just a voice. She is the full package; songwriter, musician, producer and vocalist. Known primarily as a jazz vocalist her range goes far beyond that. Please do yourself a favor and get up on some Cassandra Wilson. The album “Blue Light ‘Til Dawn” is a great place to start.
- Sankofa – Blue Light ‘Til Dawn
- Only a Dream in Rio – Belly of The Sun
- Time After Time – Traveling Miles
- A Little Warm Death – New Moon Daughter
- Blue Light ‘Til Dawn – Blue Light ‘Til Dawn
Next to Earth Wind & Fire, Steely Dan is my favorite group from the 70s. I liked them as a kid but didn’t really know who they were? I credit my exposure to the group to my father. Their music always seemed to be playing in the background whether at home or in the car. Now for me their music is a time machine that brings back so many fond memories of my father that passed in 95. Just by chance you don’t know anything about Steely Dan; Steely Dan is Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. Their first major album release was “Can’t Buy a Thrill” in 1972. Their sound is truly a blend of Rock, Soul, Rhythm & Blues and Jazz. Sound wise some of their albums are considered the standard by which you judge a stereo system? Recording is done with the utmost fidelity and attention to sonic detail, and mixed so that all the instruments are heard and none are given undue priority. I highly suggest picking up some of their work. To start your collection I would suggest the albums “The Royal Scam” and “Aja” and then go from there.
- Almost Gothic – Two Against Nature
- Pearl of the Quarter – Countdown to Ecstasy
- The Royal Scam – The Royal Scam
- Chain Lightening – Katy Lied
- The Caves of Altamira – The Royal Scam
My favorite female vocalist of all time. What can I say about her and her band that has not already been said. Her music is timeless and classic. No matter what the current trend she stays her course and puts out relevant music. If you have simply heard of Sade and never dove into her catalog I would suggest starting off with “Promise” and go from there.
- Give it up
- Cherry Pie
- Slave Song
- In Another Time