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Hand On the Torch - 20th Anniversary Edition

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Album Review

Hip-hop/jazz fusionisters Us3 have forged the most elaborate union between the styles since the early days of Gang Starr and A Tribe Called Quest. Blue Note's vast catalog gives them a huge advantage over several similar groups in terms of source material, and classic sounds by Art Blakey, Horace Silver, and Herbie Hancock provide zest and fiber to their narratives. Indeed, when things falter, it's because the raps aren't always that creative. They are serviceable and sometimes catchy, but too often delivered without the snazzy touches or distinctive skills that make Quest and Gang Starr's material top-notch. But when words and music mesh, as on "Cantaloop" or "The Darkside," Us3 show how effectively hip-hop and jazz can blend. [In 2013, Blue Note/Universal issued a 20th Anniversary Edition of Hand on the Torch with remastered sound and bonus tracks. Four remixes of "Cantaloop" are included along with some instrumentals and B-sides, while buyers of the physical product get a booklet filled with essays from Blue Note president Bruce Lundvall plus Capitol Records A&R man David Field].

Customer Reviews

Finally!!!

It's about time.

Fantastic Album

Refined. Energetic. Ageless. One of the most underrated albums from the early 1990s with a sound that transcends ages and decades.

Biography

Formed: 1991 in London, England

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

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

The jazz/hip-hop fusion collective Us3 scored a major hit in 1994 with "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)," a song that displayed the group's fondness for sampling classic recordings on the Blue Note label (in this case, Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island"). The group was founded in London in 1991 when concert promoter and jazz writer Geoff Wilkinson met Mel Simpson, who was writing music for television shows and ad jingles and had once played keyboards with John Mayall. The two produced an independent...
Full Bio
Hand On the Torch - 20th Anniversary Edition, Us3
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