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Itaal Shur issued his first solo albums under the alias Big Muff (named after a classic Electroharmonix guitar distortion pedal) -- 1998's Music From the Aural Exciter and 2000's Aurally Exciting Remixes -- a combination of funk, techno, and hip-hop which spawned the modest U.K. hit "My Funny Valentine." Shur (who was raised mostly in Seattle and Connecticut, before relocating to Manhattan) inherited his love of music from his father, who was a noted composer of Israeli music and originally from Russia. Shortly after moving to N.Y.C., Shur became involved in the experimental jazz world of the Knitting Factory before trying his hand at acid jazz. In the '90s, Shur was a founding member of the group Groove Collective, appearing on the group's first two albums, 1993's self-titled debut and 1996's We the People, and co-penning the song "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" with Maxwell for the his hit debut, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite. Shur issued his first recording under his real name in 2001, Milk & Honey: 10 Hits to Bliss. In addition to writing and recording music, Shur has created his own artist development/production company, which he hopes will soon stretch out beyond music to broadcasting and computer animation. ~ Greg Prato