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date: 15 January 2021

Acid jazzlocked

  • William Kirk Bares


Hybrid genre with origins in London’s acid house scene of the late 1980s. Originating with the English DJ and producer Gilles Peterson, the label denotes a craze, a marketing category, and a durable transatlantic jazz subculture with links to hip hop, rave and club music. Notable bands include the Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, Galliano, and Us3 in the UK and Digable Planets, Groove Collective, and Brooklyn Funk Essentials in the USA. During the music’s heyday in the 1990s, groups fused improvised live jazz with soul-jazz beats and elements of hip hop, including lyrics by established rappers like Guru and MC Solaar. The dance-oriented music tapped into the era’s fascination with jazz history, DJ culture, and retro kitsch. Jazz publications of the 1990s, including the UK-based Straight No Chaser (devoted entirely to acid jazz), debated whether acid jazz was innovative or derivative, genuinely or only superficially jazz. Its advocates touted its accessibility and potential to revive neglected jazz artists and grooves. Collaborations with veteran jazz musicians like Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and Ron Carter added credibility to the movement....

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