On his introduction to the first Jazzmatazz album, Guru talks about how he'd always wanted to do an experimental fusion of hip-hop and live jazz. But he wanted to do it right. With that in mind, the former Gang Starr MC recruited a few jazz heavies such as Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and Lonnie Liston Smith, along with younger vocalists like MC Solaar and the Brand New Heavies' N'Dea Davenport. The jazz-hop concoction worked wonderfully, and Guru went on to use similar formulas (and Blue Note Records-inspired artwork) on the next three Jazzmatazz albums, including Jazzmatazz Vol. 4: The Hip Hop Jazz Messenger Back to the Future, slated for release at the end of this month on Guru's own 7 Grand label. This time around, he enlisted the hip-hop chops of Common, Slum Village and Blackalicious together with smooth-jazzers Bob James, Ronnie Laws and David Sanborn.
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