Review: Jazzanova

“In Between”
(Ropeadope Records / Atlantic)

Jazzanova is a six-man collective of DJ’s and producers hailing from Germany.  Although the heavy use of sampling qualifies this as “electronic” music, Jazzanova favors a more jazz-inspired sound, as the name suggests. There are songs on “In Between” that are unmistakable as products of machines (“Soon,” for example, sounds like a Pac-Man arcade game long gone on speed- but in a good way), but the bulk of the tracks could have been recorded by an actual jazz ensemble.  It’s hard to find fault with the work that the members of Jazzanova have done on “In Between.”  The percussion is ridiculously well-assembled and is complemented by a variety of accompanying samples, ranging from acoustic guitar to woodwinds.  The guest vocalists recruited to help out usually do, save for a the poor showings from rappers Capital A (“No Use”) and Hawkeye Phanatic (“Keep Falling,” which features a much better performance from Ursula Rucker) which divert attention from the tracks themselves.  “In Between” is a real piece of work.