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Rhodes Scholar: Jazz-Funk Classics 1974-1982
Repressed. "Legendary keyboardist and composer Bob James is one of the major architects of the '70s jazz-funk sound, and is also notorious among a younger generation raised on hip hop. His early albums have been plundered for samples countless times, and his tunes 'Nautilus' and '(Take Me To The) Mardi Gras' are two of the most revered B-boy classics, acknowledged as musical foundations of the hip hop movement. Amazingly, until now there has been no collection that focused on the funkiest side of the keyboardist's vast catalog, the years when his instrument of choice was the classic Fender Rhodes electric piano. Previous Bob James collections have attempted to please smooth jazz aficionados who know the man for his later, synthesized-based sound, throwing in a token representative or two of the rougher, groove-based tunes of his early career. Compiled by Wax Poetics magazine's contributing editor Andrew Mason, Rhodes Scholar makes no concessions to fans of the smooth jazz sound and goes straight for the funk jugular. The 22 songs here are the gold that beat-diggers sift through stacks of albums to find, with all of James' heaviest (and most heavily sampled) tracks included. Fans of rappers Wu-Tang Clan, Run-DMC, Arrested Development, De La Soul, and EDM/house music stars Royksopp, Moodymann and Dmitri From Paris will hear familiar themes as this compilation lays bare the sources of some of their biggest hits. An extremely scarce alternate mix of one of James' biggest and most controversial tracks, '(Take Me To The) Mardi Gras,' is included for the first time since its Italian-only 1975 release. Previously unseen vintage photos plus detailed liner notes by Mason with comments from Bob James himself further enhance this long awaited package."