VMP is honored to present exclusive variants of Jazz is Dead, a series of revolutionary jazz recordings and collaborations created by Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest) that puts younger jazz artists into conversation with decades of the genre and builds on that legacy.
A statement from Jazz Is Dead on the series elaborates:
Music exists in movement and change, but before any part of it can be pinned down for analysis, it has often moved and taken on a new face. The transformation is often driven by culture as forward-thinking people avoid the proverbial paths in search of revolution. Even though our pioneers prophesized that the revolution would not be televised, the message has permeated. It’s spreading like wildfire and leaders are defined by those that speak first: Jazz Is Dead.
The pluralism behind the mutiny is stark, but the reality is trapped in the eyes of us that fleeted the scene years ago. With Jazz Is Dead, a new musical denomination is born, reversing the damage done to the genre. Yes, jazz speaks to all, but the message was no longer being recorded with reverence to the processes of the past; the dissonance of our movement is serving as the undertow for change.
Music is the universal language and we are the interpreter of sound, a message that has been lost in transcription … The vitality embedded in the new masters epitomizes our quest for new life in music: Jazz Is Dead.
Today, we bring the VMP audience the first three releases in the series, on exclusive color variants and limited to 500 per pressing. Learn about the titles in our first Jazz Is Dead drop below.
Album: Jazz Is Dead 001
Artists: Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad
Features: Roy Ayers, Marcos Valle, Gary Bartz, Azymuth, João Donato, Brian Jackson, Doug Carn and more
This first release doubles as a fantastic record in its own right and a sneak peek into what’s to come in the rest of the Jazz Is Dead series. For two producers who started their careers as DJs, sampling jazz greats, getting to work with their heroes like this is a dream come true. Younge said, “It’s surreal to be in the studio with cats ranging from Marcos Valle to Roy Ayers. The stories, the music and the experience is something Jazz Is Dead wants to share with the world.” Jazz Is Dead 001 is the perfect way to start the journey.
Album: Roy Ayers JID002
Artists: Roy Ayers, Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad
Features: Greg Paul, Phil Ranelin, Wendell Harrison, Loren Oden, Joy Gilliam, Saudia Yasmein, Elgin Clark, Anitra Castleberry
The second album in the Jazz Is Dead series is a collaboration with the godfather of neo-soul, Roy Ayers. There’s a timelessness to much of the music created for Jazz Is Dead, and this album is a transcendent nod to Ayers’ classic period in the ’70s (during which Ayers produced several of his oft-sampled tracks). Although it may sound like an unearthed, unreleased classic at times, the album, written collaboratively by Younge, Shaheed Muhammad and Ayers, is also something new and unexpected. Like the series as a whole, this record balances between celebrating legacy and proving the vitality and necessity of this music in the present.
Album: Marcos Valle JID003
Artists: Marcos Valle, Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad
Features: Patricia Alvi, Loren Oden
To create the third release in the series, Younge and Shaheed Muhammad began with searching Marcos Valle’s back catalog for direction and inspiration. Valle, whose career started with the end of bossa nova, brings his trademark percussive and melodic style of singing — a distinctly Brazilian take on vocalese — to the album. This collaboration is truly historic, marking the first time Valle has recorded music in the U.S. in nearly 50 years. Shaheed Muhammad was struck by Valle’s professionalism and confidence, and commented, “It was really interesting how we can play the same instruments, listen to the same music and Marcos can still have his distinctly Brazilian flavor that we admire so much … and to just hear our influences mix with his and to make something brand new is a dream come true.”
Be sure to stay on the lookout for future exclusives dropping as a part of VMP’s Jazz Is Dead featured series collection.