Picks and Pans Review: Modern-Day Jazz Stories
When this 31-year-old British saxophonist comes to the U.S.A., America's best reedmen crowd his shows, so prodigious is young Pine's technique. He's a restless blender of genres, and here he merges black pop with jazz to create his best CD yet.
Until now, most jazz-hip hop encounters have kept the jazz component to a minimum, burying a few token samples of classic bebop solos under a numbing funk beat. Pine levels the playing field. As his superb quartet soars and boils, a hip-hop soundtrack subtly sneaks into the background: industrial noise, turntable-scratching, muffled grunts and chants. It's like listening to jazz on a radio with leaky reception, the hip-hoppers on the next wave band continually insinuating themselves. Sometimes they push their way to the fore, as when scratcher DJ Pogo trades lightning-fast phrases with Pine. Purists may accuse Pine of trying to buy into hip hop's trendiness, but Jazz Stories seems more sincere than that. It's an attempt to reflect the way information reaches us today: through a haze of interference. (Antilles)