Doctor Jazz's Universal Remedy

Doctor Jazz's Universal Remedy Release 1.0

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Doctor Jazz's Universal Remedy is a somewhat misleading name for this group, whose music isn't jazz but rather, dance-oriented electronica (specifically, chillout and downtempo) with jazz overtones. Contrary to what jazz purists would have us believe, true jazz doesn't have to be totally acoustic, straight-ahead bop that is played in a '50s style; it does, however, need to be improvisation-minded, which is the thing that the Yellowjackets, James P. Johnson, Phil Woods and Ornette Coleman have in common -- and on Release 1.0, you're dealing with electronically programmed grooves rather than a constant stream of improvisation. But that doesn't mean that this 2004 release is without artistic merit; when Release 1.0 is judged by electronica and dance/club standards instead of jazz standards, it deserves enthusiastic applause. Like other Kriztal Entertainment releases that came out in 2004, Release 1.0 epitomizes the kinder and gentler side of electronica. Doctor Jazz's Universal Remedy doesn't get into harsh, abrasive techno; their grooves are sleek, sensuous and dreamy, and they have a highly appropriate lead vocalist in Miss Loulou (whose performances are expressive and soulful without being overly aggressive). Unfortunately, dance/club music is full of female vocalists who can't sing and sound like they're merely going through the motions, but that isn't a problem for Loulou; the capable singer has no problem getting her points across whether she's singing in English (the disc's primary language) or detouring into French on "Un Monde Sans Frime." The best parts of this CD are exquisite, and even the grooves that fall short of excellent are at least decent. Doctor Jazz's Universal Remedy wouldn't be right for a gig at the Village Vanguard (New York City's hallowed hall of jazz), but chillout and downtempo enthusiasts will find a lot to admire about Release 1.0.

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