Throughout the 1990s, there was a fusion of jazz, hip-hop, electronica, and house music which went by various monikers. Of course, the purists will punch holes through my generalizations but the music labels included nu jazz, acid jazz, deep house, and (the most unoriginal) jazztronica.
The music mixed house beats with the swaggering improvisational spirit of jazz and, occasionally, riffed cover songs into a completely new original remix. This new genre(s) created a sound analogous to 1970s punk rock, a youth revolt flipping the jazz world on its head but staying true to its laid back beat roots. Acid jazz may have offended the traditionalists for its deconstruction of the artist for sake of the house beat but it also engaged a whole new generation of jazz enthusiasts, hip-hop converts, and electronica dabblers.
My friend Elaine turned me onto this new genre in the mid-1990s at a dinner party with the introduction of the United Future Organization (UFO) playing in the party background and, immediately, I was arrested by the sound. It was the perfect musical accompaniment to our twenty-something culinary and cocktail bash. Yes, we felt cool and at home in Austin – before the turn of the century, before ACL Fest, and before the walls of Liberty Lunch came down (after which the elites moved in and jacked the city). I digress.
It has been years since I spun any UFO music or taken a road trip enjoying one of my Rebirth of Cool compilations. My interest, however, was piqued recently when I heard a 1999 remix of Billie Holiday’s, “Pennies From Heaven (Count de Money Remix),” on Slacker radio. Man, I have spun this song, easily, about twenty times since stumbling on it a couple weeks ago. If you dig this remix, check out a few others acid jazz artists below that sound fresh as ever.
- Digable Planets: Rebirth of Slick
- St. Germain: So Flute (Mozambo Remix)
- The Brand New Heavies: Never Stop
- Us3: Tukka Yoot’s Riddim
- Thievery Corporation: All that We Perceive