Of all the volumes in Madlib's Medicine Show series to date, number eight, subtitled Advanced Jazz, is the least messed with by the Beat Konducta. Its cover photo, a reproduction of an alleged painting by a certain Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze entitled Jazz Cats Crossing the Hudson, supposedly dating from 1851, prophesies the arrival of everyone from Miles Davis and Pharoah Sanders to Sun Ra, Steve Kuhn and Herbie Hancock in New York long before their actual births, is a hint to what's inside these grooves. Beginning with an excerpt from a routine by Lord Buckley, the king of hep-cat Beat comics, who introduces the program (his bits are featured throughout), Madlib goes through his four-ton vinyl library, mixing and subtly remixing records he loves. The chapters are titled, appropriately enough, "Miles," "Ornette," "Pharoah," "Herbie," "Mingus," "Ra," "Dolphy," "Ranelin," "Deodato," and "Coltrane." Given that this is a Madlib album, don't let the titles mislead you. While samples by all of the above artists are here, the selections are not necessarily comprised of simply quotes taken from their music. These are Madlib's impressionos of what these innovators brought and passed on as legacy to future generations. Elements of the music -- ranging from hard bop, Afro-Cuban jazz, modal, soul jazz, spiritual jazz, fusion, and free jazz, with poetry and comedic skits acting as transitions -- are all woven into an outrageously musical tapestry. There are far fewer quick edits here than on previous volumes. The entire set, almost 80 minutes in length, is a seamless whole where the listener is transported through the jazz continuum of the last 55 years to experience, at least for a little while, something approaching all of it. Hardcore jazz fans will have a blast naming the sources in these pieces, and mapping them out. For beat heads, this will be an education as well, since Madlib doesn't add many extraneous rhythms to his mix. For the rest of us, this Madlib's Medicine Show, No. 8: Advanced Jazz is nothing less than pure joy to groove on.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek