Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dj Jazzy Jeff & Ayah - Back for More (2011)

 Legendary party starter DJ Jazzy Jeff still packs dance floors across the world, but it's been awhile since he's issued anything new from the studio. Sporting a sound that picks up from the soulful, head-nodding vibes of his BBE projects, Jazzy Jeff has linked up with rising Toronto R&B singer Ayah to release this free, downloadable album, and the results are overwhelmingly impressive. Ayah (whose 4:15 EP was one of the strongest releases to emerge from a Canadian R&B singer in years) obviously found undeniable chemistry with Jazzy Jeff in his Philadelphia studio, penning inspirational and uplifting lyrics that complement Jeff's production style, who is assisted here by frequent Questlove studio cohort James Poyser, among other accomplished session musicians, such as Pete Kuzma, known for his work with Jill Scott. For Ayah, Back for More represents her highest profile offering and she struts into the spotlight rather than shirking from it, given the superior profile of her collaborator. The brassy "Notorious" oozes confidence and "One Life," featuring T-dot MC Tona, underlines her assertive persona. "Hold On" is a sly shout out to Slakah the Beatchild's "Enjoy Yourself" (a song she co-wrote), while the grittiness of "The Game" showcases her narrative skills. On much of Back for More, Jazzy Jeff's tasty formula involves subtly flipping familiar samples, fleshing them out with sumptuous instrumentation and then adding Ayah's impassioned vocals and sophisticated songwriting chops. Apparently, this is just the starter, in terms of the collaborations this duo have cooking. Be sure to hang around for the main course. 

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