the unity sextet – the unity sextet

The Unity Sextet - The Unity Sextet coverIt’s not uncommon for producers to team up with experienced live musicians, the examples are way too many to mention
. Usually it ends up in featurings, sometimes in full-length releases, but most of the time the result does not sound like a 50/50 collaboration. Having musicians beef up the sound of an established producer is never a bad thing, but the real magic happens when the instrumentalists are actually incorporated into the tracks in stead of merely playing over something pre-produced.


Although jazz has been around for over a hundred years, mentioning the genre still somehow makes people, who focus on other genres, frown. Far too often the word ‘jazz’ is made synonymous with off-putting rhythms and way too intricate and dissonant solo’s, making it seem to intellectual to enjoy. On the other hand, when mentioning that something is ‘contemporary’ to jazz fans, I sometimes find they instantly think of early 90′s breakbeat-infused acid jazz, which to their ears is way too superficial to be enjoyed.


Stating it like that it seems fairly impossible to concoct a groove that will appease both listener groups. Unless you hook up a producer, that is already well known to utilize extensive compositions in his dance-oriented music, with a group of musicians that are already interested in shifting into a tad more easy-to-get type of jazz.


Last June one of these extraordinary fusions saw the light of day: 6 musicians of every spectrum of jazz teamed up with veteran Lack Of Afro, resulting in almost 55mins of liquid grooving pure contemporary jazz. It features the skill of practiced musicians, giving it that real oldschool jazz flavor, melted together with the production skill that makes it possible for something to sound dusted and fresh at the same time. On the one hand it’s obvious that the compositions are based on loops on which the instruments are laid down, but on the other hand it’s often hard to pinpoint where the hand-playing stops and the recording process takes over. This smooth blend in mixing also makes the whole release sound as if it were 1-take recordings of a band playing in a studio, in stead of a clean mixed down multi-track session.


The solo’s are solid and extensive, in a way that they are easy on the ears at all times. The overall sound is really warm and the loop-based bottom is so layered that a lot of variation takes place to keep your interest sparked. The Unity Sextet are Buddy Franco, Fats Young Jr., Cassius Farqhuar, Junior Oliver, Chuck Waldron, ‘Fat Thumbs’ Ronnie and Lack Of Afro. Get the album for $9.99 at Dusty Groove America, Soundcloud here and Twitter there.