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If this doesn't get soul musos salivating, nothing will. Soul II Soul's legendary Jazzie B may come across arrogant by labelling his latest mixed compilation 'Masterpiece', but after just one spin you can't really argue. Three discs take the listener on a journey through the life, vibes and times of a true British music stalwart.
On disc one, Jazzie reaches out to his early inspiration: timeless, old skool soul- the music that kick-started the Soul II Soul party soundsystem, years before Back To Life and Keep On Moving were released. Among twelve unpretentious, feel-good soul tracks, you'll find classics like Creative Source's Good Loving Is Good Living, Harold Mervin & The Blue Notes' Bad Luck and Mystic Merlin's Mr Magician. And, yes, the latter is as gorgeously cheesy as you imagine; disco shoes, the whole shebang.
Kicking off with James Brown, disc two glides through funk and rare groove (Cameo, Kool & The Gang, The Commodores) as Jazzie evokes the hazy days of London's Africa Centre. This Covent Garden venue was where Soul II Soul ruled roost in the late eighties with their eclectic, diehard, Benetton-esque fans.
Last but by no means least, disc three completes the trilogy with an uplifting electronic versus hip hop trip. Nitro Deluxe opens with 1986 club classic, The Brutal House and Jazzie B himself ends with 2008's tribal-influenced escapade alongside the infamous Copywrite crew, Roots. In between you'll find gems like Raze's Break 4 Love, Slick Rick's Children's Story and Cypress Hill's How I Could Just Kill A Man.
An absolute must-have for any discerning soulful music lover. --Elle J Small
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