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4th Avenue Jones - Stereo : the evolution of hiprocksoul

Release:Stereo : the evolution of hiprocksoul
MyHHHdb
(what is this?) / 54 users have this
Released:2005
Recordlabel:Gotee Records
Info:Their first release on the Gotee label out
March 29th, 2005.

1. Jenny - intro
2. Stereo
3. Fabulous dramatics
4. Unhappy birthday
5. Overloaded
6. Take me away
7. Sorry
8. Monumental continental - featuring Grits
9. Who's watching me?
10. Caesar
11. Why
12. Rush
13. It's over now
Rating:Our users rated this release: 8.3 out of 10
(Number of votes: 13)   Sign up or login to submit your vote

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Review:The title of the CD is pretty self descriptive – this disc is a refreshing blend of hip hop & rock & soul, though it’s a little light on the soul end of the combination.

Blippy synths, piccolo snares & New Power Generation guitars provide the musical welcome to the cd after a narrative from a girl named Jenny who gushes about how she loved her first stereo - the narration about how music has affected different interviewees is a theme that repeats throughout the remainder of the cd as a bridge between tracks.

4th Avenue Jones is fronted by Ahmad Jones - famous for his mid '90s hit "Back in the Day" when he was only 18. Now he's surrounded himself with female vocalist, Tena (who does double-duty as Jone's wife), a funk-rock guitarist: Timmy Shakes, violinist (yes you read that correctly!) Gailybird, Al Parker on Bass and Derrick Calloway on Drums. It’s very difficult to classify the style of music, but comparison to Lenny Kravitz and Prince from NPG days wouldn't be that far off; but then there is a distinct rap element here that trashcans that comparison.

Ahmad’s vocals vary across the tracks from a shaky, excited yet muted falsetto, to straight-up west coast rap, to r&b singer.

“Fabulous Dramatics” opens with a deliciously glitchy synth line over a hip-hop beat and some sing-song rap about exes & what a shame it is when they can’t let go of a relationship. It turns into a hard rocker that could use a return of the glitch synth a couple more times. Later in the track, Tena comes in with her own rap and sailing vocals to tell the ex to lay off of her man. The positive repartee between the double-Jones on this track is very refreshing, considering modern hip-hop radio-play that features male and female vocalists trading graphic descriptions of their sexual prowess.

"Unhappy Birthday” begins with a lightly bit-crushed '80’s Casio synth line. The theme is an apology of Ahmad to Tena. The best section of this song comes with a nearly reggae rap break over top of those slightly mangled Casio synth tones. It’s just one of the delights that creep up in this disc in unexpected places. No keyboard player is listed in the credits and one assumes that it’s Gailybird’s violins being processed through some kind of weird science, to provide these blips and beeps.

“Overloaded” starts off with another seriously lo-fi lead but evolves into a 120 bpm head bobber that includes one of the disc’s more memorable lyrics:

I love you. You know my pain. When I get overloaded. Your voice is my Novocaine When I get overloaded.” Everyone needs this kind of a voice in their life.

“Take it Away” is a serious plea to God to remove us from this mess. This is a showcase of the unique sound of 4thAJ: Ahmad raps with intensity - Tena soars high above - Timmy chucks in some throw down POD-proud power chords in the chorus section, and we’ve got that piccolo snare popping through as well. Sometimes we get comfy down here and forget about the struggles that others go through. This song is a reminder that it will be so much better above - yeah God 'take me away'.

“Who’s Watching Me” features Tena's powerful pipes and Shakes in his best Kravitz-with-his-kunch-kap-on guitar in the chorus. Tena’s vocals really soar and this disc could stand to include more of her out front.

The advance release CD has disclaimers that the mix on the CD had not been finalized nor mastered, nor the final track order, but there are no complaints here about the results on the disc.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Gotee markets this CD – which section it will be placed into: Rap, Rock, Hip-Hop, or the 4th Avenue Jones bin? Whichever it is, buyers will be treated to something unique. Scheduled to be released on March 29, 2005 – be there.

Scott Lake March 19, 2005


**** of 5

tollbooth.org
source: The Phantom Tollbooth, added: Jul 11, 2006
Review:This jumble of hip-hop, rock, and soul seem so odd, and indeed this album at times sounds really strange. Kind of like “One Night in Bangkok” from the 80’s, and at the same time celestial like Tooth and Nail’s Aaron Sprinkle. Then there are the rap influences of Pigeon John and Grits, who both appear on the album.

This blend of styles and distinctive characteristics of Ahmad Jones and company make this a positively amazing CD. I particularly like the songs that feature Ahmad’s wife Tena like “Who’s Watching Me” and “Unhappy Birthday”.

There is an in depth story behind the journey of founder Ahmad Jones and how he has come to this point. Much of it is familiar territory with hip-hop artists like L.A. Symphony and many others who endured label woes, but perseverance and faith have again paid off.

“Stereo” is a tastefully done project that uses the street language of hip-hop in a positive way. At the same time the rock and soul backdrop makes 4th Avenue Jones exciting and easy to listen to.

- Ken W.
source: AlphaOmegaNews.org, added: Jul 11, 2006
Review: ‘And if you don’t know, now you know!’ Deze woorden van Biggie waren nog nooit zo waar als tijdens Flevo 2005. Immers, wie kende 4th Avenue Jones vóórdat ze het publiek plat speelden daar in Liempde?

4th Avenue Jones (4th AJ) bestaat echter al lang, hebben zelfs een tijdje op het grote Interscope Records gezeten. Maar met het album Stereo: The Evolution Of Hiprocksoul is dan eindelijk het grote publiek bereikt. Toen ik het album voor het eerst hoorde was ik meteen enthousiast, terwijl ik normaliter erg kritisch ben – zeker ten opzichte van cross-over bandjes als deze. Een vergelijking met de Black Eyed Peas (BEP) is snel gemaakt – immers kennen beide bands een ulti-multi-culti samenstelling en een melting pot aan stijlen – tóch zou je 4th AJ daar te kort mee doen.
4th AJ is namelijk méér dan BEP. Muzikaal gezien ligt 4th AJ nét iets meer tegen de rock kant aan dan BEP dat doet, wat de sound iets meer authentiek doet overkomen, tekstueel is het nét allemaal wat diepgaander, nét dat beetje meer ‘real’ dan we kennen van BEP.

Goed, genoeg vergeleken nu. Het album geeft ons naar verluidt –de titel! – de evolutie van hiprocksoul. Die laatste term gebruiken ze om hun muziekstijl mee aan te duiden, en het ís inderdaad zo divers als de titel van het album ons wil doen geloven. Gitaar riffs, scratches, raps, zang, drums en drumcomputers: 4th AJ is dé cross over band bij uitstek! En dat hun muziek door deze brede inslag bijkans iedereen weet te bekoren, dat weten we sinds Flevo! Zoals een huis-reviewer van Flevo opmerkte: “Stiekem hoop ik dat ze de nieuwe Violet Burning zijn en dat we 4th Avenue Jones nu eens een paar jaar achter elkaar geboekt krijgen.” Need I say more?

Frenzy
source: Frans Petersen, HebbeZ!-iDentity, added: Oct 09, 2006

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