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on 16 February 2002
GO AND SEE COURNEY PINE LIVE!! I saw him on at an outdoor festival last summer, and I have never seen a sax player whip up a crowd of mixed-tastes into such excitement...his digeridoo style circular breathing (being able to play for about 3 minutes at full blast without taking a breath) is awe-inspiring!
This album, however, I dont think Is Courtney's best effeort. Unfortunately he seems to have slightly sold out to the British R'n'B scene (with Kele le Roc and Lynden David Hall guesting) whilst losing the cutting edge experimentalism that made everyone's easrs prick up in the first place. Perhaps its something to do with him leaving the mighty Talkin' Loud...
Having said that, you can't fault the record for listenability. Although it might not be as sonically interesting as Underground or Modern Day Jazz Stories (which are Jazz genres in their own rights), it must be acknowledged as an solid attempt to provide a Jazz perpective on contemporary London.
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on 12 August 2013
Courtney Pine has enjoyed a career that extends back to his emergence in 1986 with 'Journey To The Urge Within', enjoying a well deserved place within the pantheon of British Jazz greats. A restlessness articulated through his exploration of the wider avenues of music through which to explore Jazz has been his defining hallmark, often working with artists from Hip Hop and other musical fields, conjoined with a ready willingness to place his musicianship within the context of his Afro-Caribbean and British heritage.

For 'Back In The Day' (2000), his eighth studio album, Pine assembled a roster of notable UK guests, including Beverley Knight, Kele Le Roc and DJ Pogo (with whom he had recorded before) and the late Lynden David Hall (who had risen to prominence with his fine single 'Sexy Cinderella'). This was a particularly good time for Pine as in the same year he was also awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), a recognition and consolidation of his place within the wider British musical consciousness. His intention with the record was, '[...] to produce a sound that is old and new at the same time. This paradox is stimulating to me and is one of the main reasons to my playing music at this time'.

The album opens with an atmospheric, movie like soundscape, featuring samples over a straight ahead slow groove (in a manner reminiscent of the work of the Wu Tang Clan). This gives way to 'The Jazzstep', a propulsive and lightly driving track featuring input from DJ Pogo (scratching 'Pee Wee's Dance' by Joeski Love). This is followed by the first cover, as Beverley Knight takes on the Curtis Mayfield penned 'Hardtimes', with a performance owing more to Baby Huey. 'Brotherman' is an instrumental groove (featuring DJ Pogo) allowing Pine to shine with his typically effervescent playing, continued on the slower paced (with more than a nod to 1970's Funk) 'Keep It Real'. Lynden David Hall takes on the cover of 'Lady Day and (John Coltrane)', here presented with an insistent lick undoubtedly influenced by Drum & Bass, with Hall's soulful vocal weaving lightly atop the rhythm. This urgency continues with 'My Father's Place', featuring a distinct nod to the music of African music greats such as Fela Kuti and Manu Dibango. Other highlights include Kele Le Roc's handling of Joan Armatrading's 1976 ever popular 'Love & Affection', which serves to remind the listener of Le Roc's power to communicate through her voice.

So. Do you buy?

For the musical purists there may not be enough 'pure' Jazz on the album (whatever that term means), and what might be termed straight ahead Jazz remains locked in a consistent groove, owing much to the UK phenomenon of Drum & Bass, over which Pine is able (with his all British band) to weave and soar with his undoubted technical assurance. The quality of Pine's playing is undeniable, but at particular points the tracks over and through which he plays lack a distinctive power to engage the listener, veering dangerously close to 'muzak'. Yet there are other moments of sustained beauty, particularly with the covers on the album, which shine brightly (along with the UK vocalists featured). There is undoubtedly a sense that Pine has attempted to incorporate elements from across his wide ranging musical heritage (except, notably this time around reggae) to produce a distinctive musical gumbo. The ingredients are strong but the mixture isn't quite good or consistent enough.

An album to explore, perhaps with a view to downloading particular tracks.

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on 3 December 2000
Courtney Pine's albums reflect both the contemporary jazz scene and the contemporary music scene more broadly. He combines his own style of jazz, which reflects his rich musical influence, with hip-hop and breakbeat to make very innovative jazz tunes. Once again he has produced an album that has a good deal of these numbers of a quality that would please his fans. BUT, there are other songs on it. Not the more traditional tunes that have bulked out his previous albums, that remind you that they are jazz albums and Pine is a contender for best-living-saxophonist. Instead what we have is a collection of wierd mutated hybrids of jazz, r'n'b, and garage. This could be your cup of tea, but if you don't like either of the two previous musical genres - and the worst aspects of each are used - then you will be left unhappy. Courney Pine is one of the few musicians who have genuihne musical genius so the album is a good album, but a dissappointing Courtney Pine Album.
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on 28 March 2001
I have written other reviews for Mr. Pine's other albums. This is truly the best album that he has done. He has taken all the elements from his past albums, added with "Wu Tan Clan-esque" skits from Hong Kong flicks and heavy break-beats from the Rap/Hip Hop 80s generation, all mixed together well. I bought this album in Germany last year and I have to admit that it is in regular rotation on my CD player.
Surprisingly, his cover versions of "Love and Affection" and "Lady Day and John Coltrane", manage to give these songs a freshness that only Dry Cleaners dream of.
If I were stranded on a desert island, I would probably ask for a Solar-powered CD player and this album (possibly also a bottle of Smirnoff Black).
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on 21 September 2000
I first heard Courtney's new album following a gig that he played in Harrogate. He played a fair number of the new tunes then and also put the album on the speaker system at the end of the gig so that people could listen to it prior to release. Overall I think it's an excellent album. Okay, admittedly it's nothing groundbreaking when compared to Modern Day Jazz Stories but who says that every album by an artist has to be completely revolutionary? Before I saw him live I'd never heard Courtney Pine before, but now I'm a convert! Pine's playing displays virtuosity in the saxophone and this album it thoroughly recommended to anyone who needs chilling out. No one combines the genres of jazz and dance/hip-hop better!
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on 21 November 2000
I love this album. I'm not a jazzer but I am a music fan, this is the best introduction to jazz any music fan could have. I have seen the man live at Glastonbury and he is awesome, never have I seen an artist who stretches the boundaries and defies convention in this way. If you love jazz buy this record, it does more for your cause, and British Jazz, than any other before it - and if you just love music and are jazzophobic (I was!) buy this album - make it the only jazz record in your collection if you want, just don't miss out!!!!
I agree with the previous reviewer - buy it, buy it, buy it!
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on 27 September 2000
I bought this albumn on a whim and i love it, the sax is fantastic, the scratching in the back ground is reminiscent of Jurrasic 5 (TOP hip hop group) and it is a perfect chill out albumn to sooothe you into winter or after a hard days work.Love it!
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on 15 November 2000
A couple of months ago, all I knew of Courtney Pine was that he was an excellent jazz saxophonist. I'd never really gotten into jazz, so I left it at that. Then I went to a gig with some friends in Birmingham. I was amazed. This man can get sounds out of a saxophone that would make anyone who knows anything about the playing of the instrument gasp in amazement.
This album is excellent. The jazz is soulful and the scratching background is an excellent accompaniment. Anyone who thinks jazz old-fashioned is wrong; buy this and see.
I could go on all day but I'll stop now and leave it there.
Buy this album. Buy this album. Buy this album.
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on 4 July 2013
Saw him in concert and decided to buy back catalogue. I don't like jazz, as a rule, but this is class stuff!
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on 8 March 2001
this album is courtney pine at his best. after underground it seemed difficult to envisage improvement, but this is definitely better. Unlike modern day jazz stories, it isnt overindulgent (solos anyone?) but manages to capture pines obvious talnet while keeping his solos to the point. it is much easier to listen to and except for a dodgy version of gil scot herons lady day there is no track that i would skip.
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