Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1, originally issued in 1993, is one of the first albums to combine a live jazz band with hip hop production and rapping. The Gang Starr MC had a unique vision, bringing together a diverse group of jazz players both old and new school like Lonnie Liston Smith, Branford Marsalis, Ronny Jordan (check out his solo on the track "No Time To Play"), Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers with vocalists like Carleen Anderson, N'Dea Davenport (of the Brand New Heavies) and French rapper MC Solaar. Combining the best of both worlds brought newfound accessiblity for both genres with Guru explaining that "Jazz's mellow tracks, along with the hard rap beat, go hand-in-glove with my voice." Jazzmatazz proved to be both highly influential and a huge commercial success and the album's strong reception led to a series of releases that also includes Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality (1993), Jazzmatazz, Vol. 3: Streetsoul (2000) and Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4 - The Hip-Hop Jazz Messenger: Back to the Future (2007).
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