Various Artists

Nu Jazz Cool: Blue Beats and Chilled Jazz Grooves

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Despite the desperate title, Nu Jazz Cool: Blue Beats and Chilled Jazz Grooves is an excellent survey of the downtempo scene as it existed during the '90s and early 2000s. The artist roster couldn't be of a higher quality, and among the inclusions are a high percentage of touchstones in the progression of organic electronica -- Nuyorican Soul's "I Am the Black Gold of the Sun," Koop's "Waltz for Koop," Nightmares on Wax's "Les Nuits," Jhelisa's "Friendly Pressure." There's also a high jazz quotient; the Japanese United Future Organization takes on Duke Jordan's "No Problem," Suba covers the Jobim/Vinícius de Moraes composition "Felicidade," and Snowboy succeeds wildly with a Latin jazz version of John Coltrane's "Mr. P.C." On the second disc, the jazz tributes include Gil Scott-Heron checking in with "Lady Day & John Coltrane" (the only vintage cut included), and, on the collection's only failure, Brooklyn Funk Essentials unfortunately strapping a pedestrian beat to Pharoah Sanders' ethereal "The Creator Has a Master Plan."

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