Hidden Beach Presents: – Unwrapped Vol 2

Unwrapped Vol.2Hidden Beach Recordings presents:
Unwrapped Vol.2
(Hidden Beach – 2002)
by S.H. Watkins, Sr.

Score another shot for the future. I’ve said it a million times now… If we don’t expose the younger generation to jazz, it will die with the older generation. Hidden Beach Records has attempted to bridge that gap twice now by bringing top-flight smooth jazz artists and having them arrange and perform popular Hip Hop tracks. The result is what I call Gateway Music; it brings them in because it’s familiar and safe, then it exposes them to something else and they’re hooked… on Jazz.

You’ve got pianist extraordinaire Patrice Rushen and violinist Karen Briggs returning from Vol.1 to be joined by the Godfather of smooth jazz Jeff Lorber and sax prodigy Mike Phillips, among others. Still a player has some absolutely viscious keyboard runs by Rushen. Phillips’ sassy horn teams up with Lorber’s classic synth sound on the 1991 Fresh Prince hit Summertime, giving it a new flavor. Vocalist Tamika Peoples spreads a smooth background here as well as on the Nelly hit Hot In Here and the Ja Rule track Always On Time, again featuring Rushen on keys and dual guitars from Dennis Nelson and Terrence Thomas.

Mystikal’s Bouncin’ Back (Bumpin Me Against The Wall gets a big-band makeover and live feel while keeping the original “bounce” that made it a top-ten hit. Coolio’s Gangsta’a Paradise is arguable one of the most heard interpretations (or interpolations) of a Stevie Wonder tune. Karen Briggs takes it a step further here, infusing it with even more raw energy and emotion then the Hip-Hop version. And the list goes on, so just go on out and get it. If you don’t recognize the players but know the songs, get it. If you know the players but not the songs, get it. If you know neither REALLY go get it.