Jalylah Burrell Presents…Hip Bop


Over the past few years or so I’ve gotten heavily into Jazz but my mama raised me on gospel and soul. Holy roller that she was (and still is) she had me in Sunday school, serving as an altar girl, youth u(r)sher, and a host of other activities at our church in Seattle. So I got my fill of gospel music. With regard to soul, I swear I’d seen Al Green a dozen times at locations up and down the West Coast, including British Columbia, by the time I was twelve courtesy of my mother’s reignited teenage infatuation. I’d also seen my Auntie throw herself at Smokey Robinson’s limo following a show at Bumbershoot. I’d had my mother cover my ears to protect me from curses being hurled by Chaka Khan at the lighting tech during a local concert and I’d seen more failed pimps and old playas (in short sets and straw fedoras no less) at an Ohio Players concert my dad drug me too when I was in the eighth grade. So it’s not like I could have just sifted through my parents old records and discovered Jazz music. It came to me more indirectly.

A clerk at defunct Seattle record store Orpheum recommended Cassandra Wilson’s New Moon Daughter to me as a pre-teen so I picked it up, enjoyed it and a few months later was intrigued to hear her on “One Shine” from Illadelph Halflife. I got into legendary drummer Art Blakey via a Starbucks Jazz compilation my mom picked up for me on a Soy steamer run but I came to a good deal of Jazz through hip-hop. So I’ve compiled a short list of hip-hop songs that introduced me to jazz, jazz songs sampled by hip-hop artists and hip-hop-influenced jazz I’ve been listening to recently.

“Planet Rock” by Jason Moran (Modernistic, Blue Note, 2002)

Having signed to preeminent Jazz label Blue Note in the late nineties, Houston native Jason Moran’s released just over half a dozen albums the last of which, Artist in Residence, dropped in September. This is his take on the Bambaata classic Planet Rock from his 2002 album Modernistic.

“The Doo Bop Song” by Miles Davis (Doo Bop, Warner Bros., 1991)

I highly recommend Miles Davis’ autobiography (as told to Quincy Troupe). It’s a great read and he’s surprisingly forthright from openly criticizing other musicians to trying to account for his violence against women but what also emerges is a committement to developing his sound. At the end of his life this took the form of this collaboration with Easy Mo Bee. Miles died before the album was completed. Critics have ben pretty hard on it but I remember seeing this video of the rap video show. I liked it then and still like it now.

“Variations (On a Conspiracy Theory)” by Russell Gunn (Ethnomusicology Vol. III, Justin Time Records, 2003)

Grammy nominated trumpeter Russell Gunn has toured extensively with DJ/Turntablist Neil Armstrong of the 5th Platoon collective. An East St. Louis native who was raised on hip hop, he incorporates it pretty nicely into his music especially his Ethnomusicology series. The Atlanta based Gunn has just released with his group Bionix, Krunk Jazz, which despite the name is quite listenable.

“Respect the Architect” by Guru feat. Bahamadia and Ramsey Lewis (Jazzmatazz Vol. II: The New Reality, Chrysalis, 1995)

It’s really a shame that Guru chose to embark on that irrational rampage against audio engineer Young Guru. It was foolhardy and only sullies his name for a new crop of listeners who may not be familiar with the Gang Starr legacy. Midlife crisis aside no one has come close to fusing Jazz and hip hop like Guru. The Jazzmatazz series is classic. This track from Volume II is my favorite. Ramsey Lewis is a pianist equally at home playing Jazz and R&B and Bahamadia was and still is a phenomenal emcee and is in my all time top ten.

“Mrs Parker of K.C.” by Eric Dolphy (Far Cry, Eric Dolphy Prestige 1960)

Eric Dolphy didn’t mean anything to me until I read Ntozake Shange’s Liliane. At one point the narrator says, “I heard Eric Dolphy in his eyes.” I thought it was sick line and I just assumed that I’d like Dolphy’s music. I don’t. At least the two albums I downloaded. The clarinetist may have been a genius but he’s not easy listening and I can be lazy. But I mention him because he’s a major figure and he was sampled on the Del classic “Catch a Bad One” according to The Breaks. If my ears are correct the sample’s about 6 minutes in.

I really recommend going to hear some live Jazz. It’s a different experience than listening to a recording and for those of you who are aspiring beat makers you might get a little inspiration or find a sample source or two. So NYC metro, I started a Jazz listening group this past summer after noticing that I was often the only young and/or black person at a lot of shows. The listening group is a diverse mix of young folks and we check out a low cost or free Jazz shows in the city every month. E-mail me if you want to join us.

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  • Jayson Rodriguez

    Word up!

    I see you, JB!

  • john cochran

    Jazz is kinda boring, but whatever.




    and write a more “relevant” blog next time dawg!

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?cat=29 noz

    dolphy >>>>>>>>> jazzmatazz & doo bop. he definitely shouldn’t be minimized to a del sample source (unless your goal was to make my head to explode, in which case you’d have succeeded).

    otherwise nice first post, welcome…

  • daesonesb

    yeah i dig it. good Post.

    Jazz is only boring if you aint listened to it enough.

    The main thing I surmised from jazzmatazz one was that Guru’s flow was way basic back in the day … “somebody stinks in here, can you stand it?”


    Frankly I think he was way iller with Gangstarr.

    Get wise to jazz all you vermin. You all run the risk of appearing brain dead.

  • crimson

    Miles Davis is still the most accessible artist for newcomers. Also, “Django” by the Modern Jazz Quartet is one of my favorite all time songs and has been sampled a few times (a good one is the Clark Kent remix of “Ready or Not” by the Fugees). But it seems like the days of hip hop/jazz crossover are over, mostly because of sampling laws.

  • Bang

    lol at the Planet rock cover

    funny, but still. I guess it’s just good to have other genres respect Hip Hop like that.

  • http://sherealcool.blogspot.com jb

    well noz my tastes are pretty blasphemous(i don’t really like tyner much but he’s been growing on me). i’m partial to more soulful stuff- horace silver and wynton kelly immediately come to mind.

    i can’t say jazzmatazz was better than dolphy. two diff. categories. its just that i think guru’s done a great job of blending jazz and hip hop.

  • http://myspace.com/legacyhiphop Belize

    Doo-bop was the shyt, Easy Mo Bee sounded ill on this too, even though he spat like 2 bars total…

    noz Says:

    November 13th, 2006 at 6:29 pm
    dolphy >>>>>>>>> jazzmatazz & doo bop.

    ^Ohhh helllll naw NOZ!

    doo bop >>>>>>>>> jazzmatazz & dolphy.

  • ali

    I’ve been schooled.

  • http://www.abiography-face.blogspot.com Courtney

    Great post J! Keep up the good work

  • 110 street

    nice, it kills me when a change is on this blog and the reviews is so low.

  • Brooknam Eksperyans


    I really dig this piece. The intro is tight I picture you and ma dukes making the rounds back in the day and heartily warming the Seattle streets with your smiles and musings on music.

    You’re so right about Guru….


  • http://cultureculture.wordpress.com Ms. Danielle

    Great topic, do yo’ thang!


    Wassup with Miles Davis looking like a cracked out Flava Flav?

    The tracks are fresh tho.

  • Kgrizzle


  • ouiss001

    how come you did not mention erik truffaz who also worked on fuzzing jazz and hip hop, in a manner that i think is complentary of guru’s: while guru tries to bring hip hop to jazz, erik truffaz tries to bring jazz to hip hop