Luz Mob – Luz Interpretations
CrystalTop Music (1/23/07)
Jazz / Dub / Downtempo
If DJ Cam were more roots-related, or better yet, if Thievery Corporation dabbled more in Latin jazz, that would be comparable to the music of one Luz Fleming, who creates music under the nom de guerre of Luz Mob. And yes, it is as awesome as I am leading you to believe. More straight-up jazz with some hip-hop fusion undertones than acid jazz or jazz fusion, Fleming earned his chops by studying under jazz journeymen like double bassist Reggie Workman and pianist/trumpet player Bill Dixon. Much like a Moby that doesn’t suck, Fleming plays all of his instruments, from baritone sax to bass clarinet, and everything in-between, and the end result is just the cat’s ass.
A fan of false cognates, I was immediately amused by the title of the album, and things went up from there. I was hoping that the brief, Latin jazz-infused intro wasn’t going to get my hopes up early, and it didn’t as the follow-up track, “The Selecter”, delivers over four minutes of meat-and-potatoes (or carne y papas) Latin jazz, as Fleming makes it seem sway too easy; the majority of the compositions seem to come to him naturally as a works his way through each one flawlessly. “Ella Se Fue” conjures memories that I don’t have but am imagining of a smoky 1950s jazz club frequented by beatniks and women who use those long cigarette holders.
“Blackman Land” meshes Salsa with dub in an incredibly chill, yet somehow danceable tune that even infuses some Jimmy Smith/Bob James organ that has me wanting to say goodnight to Mr. Walters. Tracks like “La Subienda” and “Tabaco y Ron” borrow from the Tito Puente/Fania-era Salsa compilation that I just reviewed on Tuesday, but unlike the songs in that collection, this album is remastered using modern equipment, and the result is a beautiful, lush sound that gives the genres revisited a whole new lease on life.
“Dip & Fall Back” and “Run Babylon” are bona fide dubby goodness that Bob Marley would have approved of himself. In fact, Luz Mob should team up with the Marley children, as it would honestly be a very good fit. He would rock Tuff Gong a lot better than the even the kid who calls himself “Jr. Gong”. “Trust in Me” throws in some relatively heavy electro-beats, with works well beside the more organic stand-up bass and trumpet. And I was expecting at least a few guest vocals on here, but I wasn’t at all disappointed when there were none to be found in the entire set. Often times vocals complement these types of compositions, but I honestly don’t see the purpose in screwing around with a perfectly good thing.
And Luz Interpretations is, in fact, a very, very good thing. It’s wonderful background music for a party, while being something that would work at both a chic hipster lounge and the aforementioned dingy, smoke-filled jazz club. If it had a smell, it would be a minty fresh mojito. Buy this now.