Saturday, 30 April 2016

Gregor Yan – Jazz City Mini LP – Deep Explorer

WITH the big four-oh – releases not years that is – just a record away, Spanish label Deep Explorer appears to be in no mood to play safe or rest on its rather excellent laurels.

Having journeyed during its 12-year existence from minimal and tech grooves through to the grown-up deep house canon it has become synonymous with, the Madrid-based imprint has gone and flipped the script by conjuring up what almost amounts to a jazz concept album.

Of course there are significant elements of house music and the usual high-quality Deepex deepness thrown in there, we would expect nothing less, but the carefully curated six-track selection from Gregor Yan – a new name round here – is imbued and styled overwhelmingly by this thing called jazz.

Opening up the album is the languid title-track, a percussion and piano driven number with a cool-as-fuck male vocal and more than just a faint air of low-budget film about it.

The long player kicks on with Take #2, which has been reshaped by the New Jazz Fakers, aka Yan and the incomparable label boss Dubbyman. Still dominated by the jazz vibe naturally but with a house beat and purpose, it’s one of those tracks that reminds you just why God made us phunky.

Both About Love and Take #7 mine that same hi hat and sparkly keys late-night jazz club seam to great effect, whilst Loud Silence is a beautiful and wistful unhurried journey that brings the album to a perfectly fitting close.

Sandwiched between these and worth the cover price alone, however, is the majestic Strange Emotion. It’s straight-up, honest-to-goodness deep house dripping in soul, power and, of course, emotion. Bundles of it.

Individual moments of brilliance notwithstanding, a holistic approach is perhaps the best way to experience Jazz City; a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Close your eyes tightly though and I swear you can make out Dubbyman, a striking figure with fedora strategically tilted to one side, gliding contentedly and with purpose through some smoky dive bar or other. And that’s got to be a very good thing.

Check out:
Jazz City Mini LP @ Juno

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