Daily Jam : Yesterday’s New Quintet’s “Too High”
Alter egos and fictional musicians. This is what the jazz-based, hip-hop and electro-influenced, Yesterday’s New Quintet, is composed of. The mastermind? Madlib, hip-hop artist of the independent Stones Throw Records label, who also is the counterpoint of Jaylib- collaboration with J Dilla on 2003’s Champion Sound. Today’s Daily Jam is Madlib’s 2004 track “Too High” from the album Monk Hughes and the Outer Realm. The album exists as the fourth installment to the YNQ collection, but within in it’s existence lies a deep purpose as the website description illustrates:
Madlib and Yesterday’s New Quintet’s tribute the to the brilliant keyboardist, arranger and producer Weldon Irvine. Unlike YNQ’s Stevie tribute, these tracks are not covers of Irvine compositions, but rather songs in the vein of YNQ’s recent Ugly Beauty EP by Malik Flavors, inspired by the man and his music. The bulk of the material here finds Madlib and YNQ exploring deep into the territory of ’60s and ’70s improvised electric jazz. Tracks like “Time,” with its lovely snaking analog keyboard lines, and “Welldone,” with poised, gorgeous melodies anchored by a stuttering beat, both suggest a meeting place for out-jazz experimentalists of the Pharaoh Sanders, Sun Ra and the Strata-East fusion vibe. “Keys” and “Still Young, Gifted & Broke” add Brazilian-tinged rhythms to the mix, while “Day Of The Spirit Man” and “Master Wel’s Tune” reveal Madlib’s increasingly strong grasp of the complexity of the jazz idiom. Although it can be argued that Madlib is a bit premature in exploring the free-er elements, the strong stuff here more than makes up for his laconic moments.