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Of All the Things

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Album Review

Could it be? Is it really possible that one of the most innovative collectives in modern music could stoop to making a throwback soul record? (Perhaps they should have recruited Joss Stone as a guest vocalist.) Sarcasm aside, it's obvious that a soul record from a group like Jazzanova is quite a different proposition from the usual retro rot. So confident in their middle age that they feel no need to innovate (at least, purely for its own sake), the Berliner sextet ends up delivering one of the best soul albums of the era (or any other). True, the influences may be easy to spot — Philly soul here, Motown there, plenty of '70s progressive jazz with taut strings or breezy woodwinds — but with arrangements as accomplished as these are, and productions that crackle as gloriously as these do, the group can rest comfortably with their theft, genius as it is. Each track has a vocal feature, which might disappoint a few dance fans, but as with the first Jazzanova production LP (In Between), listeners won't spend long wishing they could hear instrumentals of these songs. The caressing vocalist Paul Randolph is responsible for a large share of the highlights, while Jazzanova must be proudest for snaring the smooth soul maverick Leon Ware to appear on a cover of his own "Rockin' You Eternally," with backing vocals from fellow Detroiter Dwele. (Still, Phonte from Little Brother is responsible for the record's greatest feat — delivering a fine soul vocal on the opener "Look What You're Doin' to Me," then rapping just as well for "So Far from Home.") It's to be expected that Jazzanova would turn in excellent productions with every track, but what's most impressive about Of All the Things is the work that Jazzanova haven't made their forté in the past — songwriting, arrangements, and the pairing of each vocalist with a song that works perfectly for them. (Credit for much of the songwriting and arranging for horn or strings goes to Stefan Leisering.) Whereas in the past, Jazzanova's preeminence was obvious on the surface, Of All the Things displays their subtle powers for music-making.

Customer Reviews

Buy this album

This is a great album. Just bought and cannot stop listening to it.... Nice soulful funky groove with the flavour of old!! Stand out songs: "Look what your'e doing to me" featuring Phonte Coleman who is a genius, "I can see" feautring Ben Westbeech (note: check out Ben Westbeech's solo album which is aewsome, "Little Bird" featuring Jose James, "So far from Home" featuring Phonte Coleman. Enjoy!!

Just beautiful - Jazzanova show their maturity and versatility

Being a massive fan of Jazzanova's (especially from the album "In Between" and their old percusion-charged greats like "Atabaque" and "Caravelle"), I was very excited about the release of their second studio album. When I first previewed the songs here on iTunes I was surprised by the change of genre from nu-jazz to soul, but after a few listens I was swept up in the beauty of the musical arrangements and the great song-writing, singing and melodies in all of the tracks. Every song is great to listen to (and sing along to) over and over again!


Formed: 1995 in Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Berlin's Jazzanova collective formed in 1995, after DJing with one another at a club called Delicious Doughnuts. Alexander Barck, Claas Brieler, Roskow Kretschmann, Stefan Leisering, Axel Reinemer, and Jürgen von Knoblauch shared a common goal of blending their collected inspirations together to create a new, sophisticated sound, with debts owed to nearly every form of dance-oriented music from the past several decades. Like a lot of upstart producers and underexposed jazz-funk ghosts of the past,...
Full Bio
Of All the Things, Jazzanova
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  • $18.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Dance, House, Bop, Electronic
  • Released: 01 January 2008

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