After a sling of instantly sold-out 45s through his Bandcamp (we're talking minutes here), it's tempting to say that Soul Supreme got a Midas touch. But that doesn't do justice to his hard work and carefully crafted reinterpretations of music by A Tribe Called Quest, Madvillain, Mos Def & others. The newest addition: not one but two 45s around Jay Dee a.k.a. J Dilla.
The Amsterdam-based keyboardist/producer takes on 'Let's Ride' (Q-Tip) and 'Runnin' (The Pharcyde) on the first donut. The other 45 contains a medley of 'The Official' (Jaylib) and 'Fall In Love' (Slum Village), and two unsung Jay Dee beats: 'Still Shining,' as produced for Busta Rhymes, which has never seen the light of day as an instrumental. Another never-before-released Jay Dee beat is 'Feelin' Good', an essential case of Dilla's unparalleled ear for swing. Sidetrack: look up the Bling47 Breaks video later with House Shoes's story on giving Jay Dee the Frank Cunimondo Trio record, with a VHS video of T3 and Baatin going crazy in Detroit's The Shelter to Jay Dee's 'Feelin' Good' flip. Pure gold.
The Detroit visionary reimagined 'groove' and sampling. On his turn, Soul Supreme takes on Dilla's timing, rhythms, and harmonies. Think of how in the final part of "Runnin'," the keys start to follow the well-hidden, heavily filtered sample on The Pharcyde's original, instead of the main melody. Or how there's punch to J-Zone's drumming on "Let's Ride" as there's punch to the MPC3000. How Jonny Murray improvises on trumpet rather than replaying the sample. The marriage of Rhodes and synths on "Fall In Love" resemble Soul Supreme's trademark sound as showcased on last year's self-titled LP. Built on top of that, the two 45 releases (sold separately) are all-original takes on Jay Dee-produced classics. The swing hits different. No wonder, when one reinterprets productions by a man whose name also defines a complete “post-Dilla” era. Soul Supreme heads deep into his music. Technically pre-Dilla, even, as five out of six tracks on this double-donut are originally produced as Jay Dee. But let’s not waste Dase Boogie’s fresh sleeve design on nerding over names.
After passing tests of reworking songs by the likes of A Tribe Called Quest & Madvillain with flying colors, this double-45 feels like Soul Supreme’s ultimate thesis. Dilla revisioned the idea of ‘groove’ like no other. That—naturally—shines through in Soul Supreme’s playing on these records. It’s the type of heartfelt tribute that puts a smile on your face. A keyboardist’s loose take on how Dilla approached sampling: pushing songs into new frontiers and reimagined
compositions, with an exceptional ear for harmony.
Original yet different. “Out with the old, in with the new.”
Jay 'J-Zone' Mumford (drums on 'Let's Ride')
Jonny Murray (trumpet on 'Let's Ride')
Lucas van Ee (tenor sax on 'Runnin')
Jamie Peet (drums on 'Feelin' Good')
Luc Janssens (trumpet on 'Feelin' Good')
Glenn Gaddum Jr. (bass on 'Feelin' Good')
Jeroen Verberne (trombone on 'Feelin' Good')
Dirk Zandvliet (baritone sax, alto sax & flute on 'Feelin' Good')
The new book Son of the City: A Memoir by Dante Ross, is the first release by the new author. Preorder is in limited supply and available now
When Victrola introduced the Revolution Go turntable to me and asked if we would be interested in trying one out, I was game, but these days I spend more time at my desk than hunting for records in dusty basements.