[youtube id=”eIWTKrj9SfI”]Guru started his Jazzmatazz series in 1993 with the first volume that had collaborations with Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and N’Dea Davenport. Guru’s main group, Gang Starr, was at the height of their creativity and recognized around the world the year he started working with jazz and R&B musicians on the new project. “Feel The Music” is from Jazzmatazz Vol. 2: The New Reality. Martine Girault’s “Revival” was the sound bed as Guru rapped about the power of his microphone presence. The second album in the series is noted for the great lineup that included Chaka Khan, Branford Marsalis, Meshell Ndegeocello, Kool Keith, Jamiroquai, Ramsey Lewis, Bahamadia, DJ Scratch and Kenny Garrett. Guru’s rap voice already had the smoothness, authority and cadence for jazz. He told Blues and Soul magazine,
“Back around ’93—when I first came up with the Jazzmatazz concept—I was noticing how a lot of cats were digging in the crates and sampling jazz breaks to make hip-hop records. But while I thought that was cool, I wanted to take it to the next level and actually create a new genre by getting the actual dudes we were sampling into the studio to jam over hip-hop beats with some of the top vocalists of the time. You know, the whole thing was experimental, but I knew it was an idea that would spawn some historic music.”
Guru recorded four volumes of Jazzmatazz records but it is the first two that are most recognized for their successful blending of hip-hop, R&B and live jazz playing as well as some sampling. As one-half of Gang Starr, he released six albums and they are permanent underground heroes who are always cited but never received widespread recognition in the music industry. Guru passed away in 2010 from cancer at the age of 47.