Global Noize - Sly Reimagined (2013)

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    Sly and the Family Stone was a cutting edge group, and that’s why their music sounds as fresh now as it did when the group broke all kind of boundaries in the late 1960s and early 70s. Sly Stone’s band had an integrated lineup with members of both genders. That kind of fusion still raises eyebrows more than 40 years later.

    Sly and the Family Stone was one of first groups mixing soul, rock and jazz. That explains why people of all ages have at least a couple of Sly Songs in their playlists. Sly and the Family Stone’s well-earned reputation as musical innovators pose a challenge to any artist thinking of updating their sound. Yet, keyboardist Jason Miles and DJ Logic accept that challenge on their third album, Sly Reimagined.

    Sly and the Family Stone was a cutting edge group, and that’s why their music sounds as fresh now as it did when the group broke all kind of boundaries in the late 1960s and early 70s. Sly Stone’s band had an integrated lineup with members of both genders. That kind of fusion still raises eyebrows more than 40 years later.

    Sly and the Family Stone was one of first groups mixing soul, rock and jazz. That explains why people of all ages have at least a couple of Sly Songs in their playlists. Sly and the Family Stone’s well-earned reputation as musical innovators pose a challenge to any artist thinking of updating their sound. Yet, keyboardist Jason Miles and DJ Logic accept that challenge on their third album, Sly Reimagined.

    We know that any effort to endow the music of Sly and the Family Stone with a 21st Century sound will feature significant use of contemporary production techniques. That means listeners will hear keyboards, scratching on turntables and other assorted tricks of the trade employed in the hip-hop era. While Miles and DJ Logic intersperse Sly Reimagined with those techniques, the two strike a good balance between the cutting edge and classic through the selection of singers sporting vocals that ooze soulfulness and spirituality.

    So while “Same Thing” opens with scratching on a turntable, Mudbone Cooer’s funky vocals and Jay Rodriguez’s honking tenor sax are the track’s two takeaways. Nona Hendryx endows “In Time” with a healthy dose of the sanctified church that served as the Stone family’s musical foundation.

    Miles and Logic understood that this project’s success hinged on their understanding of what classic elements were indispensible. So although Sly Reimagined has the feel of a total overhaul due to the introduction of some contemporary production techniques, those soulful vocals and the musicianship on this Global Noize project gives the album a classic feel.  And Sly Reimagined successfully straddles a fine line, paying proper homage to classic songs while providing a fresh, innovative view that makes these versions stand apart from the originals. Recommended.

    By Howard Dukes

     
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