Madlib follows ‘Brain Wreck Show’ with the seventh installment of the Medicine Show series; a jazz album with Yesterdays New Quintet. While Madlib’s prolific recorded output always runs the gamut of styles, he often returns to recurrent themes, spread across the genres that serve as home base (or bases). Jazz is one such base.
This year, he’s already released two albums from spin-off “bands” that he first introduced on 2007’s ‘Yesterdays Universe’ album by Yesterday’s New Quintet. With ‘High Jazz’, Madlib begins anew, offering familiar jazz sounds from a series of “new” groups from his ever-dividing mental cosmos. ‘High Jazz’ - the name itself a tribute to the landmark jazz-fusion album released by Stanton Davis’s Ghetto Mysticism in 1976 - shows a marked development in Madlib’s craft. Every element of jazz is there. Is that tune modal-funk? Was that song psych-fusion? Was that a bossa-tinged run or another kind of latin-affair? Where did that sitar come from? Madlib’s Yesterdays-excursions are never easy to categorize and that’s the point – while experiencing chops like these, the desire to rigidly define takes a back seat to aural pleasure.