Kato’s Gems #3

Masta Ace Incorporated

The record of the day is “Slaughtahouse”, the first album released under the name Masta Ace Incorporated, in 1993. Masta Ace, legendary M.C. Juice Crew, is one of the best writers in the history of rap, still active and in good shape today. Here he was at the peak of his form and together with Lord Digga, Ice U Rock and the talented Paula Perry, he formed an unrepeatable working group, which led him to give birth to one of the best records of that golden age of rap. Gloomy and underground as New York imposed, but at the same time original in every aspect, from flow to production. Every beat is a brick. Every song is perfect. Each rhyme is to be studied in slow motion, aggressiveness and lyricism merged to the nth degree.

Esther Phillips – All About

Released in 1978. This is for me the record that closes the golden season of Esther Phillips, one of the most incredible and original voices ever. Between 1971 and 1978, she was super productive and inspired, churning out even more than one record a year. Randomly catch a disc of this incredible and tormented soul singer and find yourself, without a shadow of a doubt, in your hands a masterpiece. This, together with “Alone Again” is my favorite album, with exceptional musicians (Harvey Mason is on drums). Heartbreaking melodies, funk riffs to lighten the soul and blues that pervades all his music. The queen track of the album is for me “There You Go Again” very stylish, with a long spoken intro.

Elvin Jones

An interesting record for you beatmeker is Elvin Jones’ “Brother John”, released in 1982. Not just a jazz musician, but one of the greatest drummers in the history of music in general, who has influenced many artists and has put his mark on some great masterpieces. In the sixties he was a member of the John Coltrane Quartet, and he is the drummer on “A Love Supreme”. In this album he assembles a formidable rhythmic section together with the bassist Reggie Workman, and is helped by the pianist Kenny Kirkland and by Pat LaBarbera on the sax. Just the latter is the other great protagonist of the album appearing in perfect shape, with a style influenced by Coltrane but not derivative. Obviously there are so many interesting drum solos for a record that once again reveals all the greatness of Elvin Jones.