Monday, June 25, 2007

Mobi - Smokey's

Hear The Track Here

As I start to scrape the bottom of this month's barrel, it's nice to see that there is still a surprise or two waiting. It's been a month of familiar names with new tunes, but I've heard a sprinkling of new stuff and here another one. Mobi (no relation, obviously) is a self confessed Gorillaz fan - as am I - and from Tampere in Finland so better dress warmly. Mobi's adopted musical stomping ground is also one you don't come across all that often; smooth jazz. Now me, I do like a bit of jazz in all its many varieties, although some of the more cacaphonic exercises in dissonance have been known to give me a fearsome headache. Mind you, I get the same symptoms whenever I am exposed to techno for any length of time, so I guess it doesn't count.

'Just like Smokey's would be' Mobi opines in the song comments, in which case the listener may well be expecting some cool blue jazz as played in that self-same smoky, dank cellar. The first time I galloped through this track, I wasn't aware of what I was listening to, I just threw a bunch of review tracks onto my Ipod. I have to admit that I was a bit puzzled by the track not because it wasn't well executed (it is) or because it was in any way flawed. Like a lot of tracks it has little niggles (some of the sounds are a bit 'factory'), the mix and production are less than sparkly. Having said that, it's musically worth some space because obviously Mobi does have a touch and feel for this material.

The question is, do any of us?

Jazz has always been a bit of a left-behind genre and that's a shame because there are many great artists still living and breathing the genre. I wouldn't go as far as to say that Smokey's is blue note jazz or even smoky cellar jazz, it's probably got more to do with the watered down, easier listening variety promoted by the big jazz stars of the 1930's and 40's. Where it falls down for me is in the most critical part, the brass sounds. For me, the prime requisite of ANY jazz, is to get the tone and timbre of the brass instruments exactly right and this track misses that by a mile. It would have made a much, much better track had more attention been paid to getting the instruments to sound right. However, it's still a very decent track in a genre you don't hear much of these days.

A refreshing change, songwise. Cool jazz vocal (with the slightest of accents).

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