LITTLE BOY DON'T GET SCARED
1/ Little Boy Don't Get Scared (Getz,King Pleasure,Hendricks)7.55
2/ Swan Blues (Carpenter,Pleasure) 6.13
3/ I'm Gone (Jones,King Pleasure) 5.41
4/ Moody's Mood For Love (McHugh,Fields,Moody) 6.15
5/ Cottontail (Ellington) 8.36
6/ Angel Eyes (Brent,Dennis) 5.57
7/ Twisted (Ross,Gray) 5.25
8/ Fade (Laswell) 1.47
Recorded at Orange Music Sound Studios, West Orange, New Jersey
Engineering: Robert Musso
Concept: Alan Douglas
Construction: Bill Laswell
Produced by Bill Laswell & Alan Douglas
Mastered by Joe Gastwirt at Ocean View Digital
Dana Bryant (1,4): voice; Asante (except 8): voices; Blue a/k/a Alicia
Renee (2,4,7): voice; Byard Lancaster: alto saxophone (3,4), tenor saxophone
(1,7,8), flute (7,8); Karl Berger: vibes (1,2,4,6), piano (2), synthesizer (6),
keyboard bass (6); Brandon Ross (1,4,7,8): guitar; Bill Laswell: bass
(except 6), percussion (1,2,3,4,7,8), turntable (1,4,7,8), beats (5);
Roc Raida (2,3): turntable; Grandmaster Melle Mel (3,7): voice; Graham
Haynes: cornet (3,5), flugelhorn (6); Amina Claudine Myers: Hammond organ
(3,5,7,8), electric piano (3,5,7,8), voice (6); DXT (5): turntable; Bootsy Collins
(5): voice; Nicky Skopelitis (6): guitar.
Material strings (1,4,6) arranged and conducted by Karl Berger.
2006 - Douglas (France), AD-12 (CD)
Note: This was originally released in 1998 with 1 extra track under Laswell's name with the title 'Jazzonia'.
When bassist and producer Bill Laswell puts together a project like this one, it's hard not to feel a little twinge of trepidation: his ability to pull together top-drawer talent is nearly unparalleled
(and in this case he's gathered such A-list names as Grandmaster Melle Mel, Roc Raida, Amina Claudine Myers, Graham Haynes, and Bootsy Collins, among others), and he frequently puts
them together in unusual and revelatory ways and draws exceptional performances from them. But when a Laswell project falls flat it falls really flat, and for this one he's set himself an unusually
daunting challenge: to recast classic jazz and jump-blues songs in a dub/funk/electro/hip-hop setting. And this one really is a success, if at times an unlikely one. Opening with the
obscure King Pleasure song "Little Boy Don't Get Scared," which is given a strangely laid-back, loping hip-hop arrangement, he proceeds to build dark and dubby structures into which
the swinging vocals of Asante, Dana Bryant, Myers, and Alicia Renee are able to float and dance with plenty of room but also solid rhythmic support. At times the result evokes Skip McDonald's
various projects with On-U Sound (notice the especially Little Axe-ish "I'm Gone"), and at others it evokes the early Material funk-soul project One Down. But every single track sounds
unmistakably like a Laswell joint: the focus on old-school turntablism, the bottomless but richly melodic basslines, the retreating dubwise drum echoes. And in one thrilling departure, he takes the
Duke Ellington standard "Cottontail" down a junglist rabbithole, with dubbed-up trumpets, skittering turntables, and layers of reverb-laden drums swirling in concentric circles of polyrhythmic bliss.
Chalk this one up as another Bill Laswell triumph.
Rick Anderson (courtesy of the All Music Guide website)