By Jim Clark, publisher, Lee County Courier, Tupelo, MS
It bounced out of my speakers teasing me, jazz with a hip hop vibe. Who would have thought it? Turns out I'm actually behind the times. The band Us3 has been together since 1990. It's just that they've been across the ocean primarily touring in places like England, France, Italy and Poland. Their eighth album, Lie, Cheat & Steal, is available by digital distribution only in the U.S. through The Orchard. It features NY based Puerto Rican rapper/spoken word artist Oveous Maximus, and acclaimed UK rapper (& MOBO Award winner) Akala.
This strange blending of traditional jazz with electronica and rap is the brainchild of British producer and composer Geoff Wilkinson.
I especially like the opening cut "Ghost" and the horn-heavy rifts behind the title cut "Lie, Cheat & Steal."
"I've become increasingly disillusioned by the people we, as children, are traditionally brought up to look up to. Politicians, police, business leaders, sportsmen, religious leaders, etc. all seem to be up to their eyeballs in corrupt practices. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is widening at an increasing pace. Is this what a democracy should look like, where it's ok to lie, cheat and steal your way to the top?," Geoff said.
The familiar Us3 sound features collaborators past & present, including fiery horn players Ed Jones (sax) and Bryan Corbett (trumpet). A variety of keyboard players take the chair including John Crawford, Mike Gorman, Barry Green, Tim Vine, Neil Angilley, and John Turville. Double Bass is handled by Chris Dodd, and DJ First Rate shows off his turntable trickery again.
If you want to experience the future of a new music coming to our shore soon, pick up a copy of Lie, Cheat & Steal and you'll be there before most are.