Various Artists

Straight No Chaser

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Blue Note keeps the "concept" packages coming with this two-disc set presenting catalog tracks sampled by the hip-hop/jazz ensemble Us3. The 15 selections include dialogue snippets from Birdland's irrepressible Pee Wee Marquette and the great Art Blakey, with the other material divided between hard bop and soul-jazz, and Herbie Hancock, Horace Silver, and Donald Byrd getting two tracks each. John Patton, Reuben Wilson, Grant Green, Lou Donaldson, Thelonious Monk, Blakey, and Bobby Hutcherson are other featured artists. The songs are first-rate, but Blue Note could have also included the recording years of the tracks as an additional service to listeners, particularly those coming from rap with little knowledge of the label's accomplishments or legacy.

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