Various Artists

Future Sounds of Jazz, Vol. 9

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If this compilation is any real indication, the future sound of jazz consists of mellow vocals, dreamy electric piano, and programmed rhythms. Okay, it's more varied than that, but if you listen to "Keep You Kimi" and "Leave Me Now," two of the first three cuts from this disc, you'd be forgiven for thinking there was a formula. The Foremost Poets up the energy a bit, bringing up bits of hip-hop -- they actually sound like Herb Alpert fronted by an R&B/hip-hop mix. Their lyrics, however, certainly need some work. Joseph Malik's track has as much to do with the chill-out room as nu-jazz, while Triplane offer a largely percussive workout. In fact, the second half of the album tilts heavily toward electronica -- Dntel's "Anywhere Anyone" has very little to do with jazz by any normal definition, although Monassa right the balance just a tad. There's beauty to the closing "Folk Song for Cello," with its occasional music box tones -- but actually precious little cello. So what is the future sound of jazz -- apart from a marketing ploy? It's probably anyone's guess. But like any other style, it contains both the good and the mediocre.

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