Nu Wave


The early 90s saw the kinds of sampling and sequencing techniques used to assemble soul, funk and disco breaks in hip hop and house music begin to be applied to jazz and Brazilian samples. The result – sometimes called ‘nu jazz’ – emerged from the acid jazz scene but arguably stood the test of time  better and also outlived the jazzy hip hop Gangstarr predicted would dominate the decade. The pioneers of the sound were United Future Organization (UFO) and a variety of Japanese artists whose records appeared on labels like Brownswood in Japan, Talkin’ Loud in the UK, and Compost in Germany. In the US, the Thievery Corporation took a similar though more down-tempo approach. Sadly Cambridge’s contribution to the genre was lost forever as the master tapes to the mythical ‘Itch-ka-too’ vanished in a haze of booze and narcotics.

Sampling a mixture of jazz, funky soundtracks and Brazilian music, nu jazz’s distinctive feature was typically an underlying samba/bossa rhythm – as opposed to classic breakbeats or 4-to-the-floor – which made it fit in well with the jazz, funk and latin music played at clubs like Dingwalls, the Mo’ Wax sessions, That’s How It Is and the Jazz Rooms. The mixes below remind me of that time – a time when the only beards in evidence were goatees, NHS specs worn by people with perfect eyesight were not uncommon, dressing like a trainspotter was briefly hip, and girls chose to wear dresses and jeans at the same time.

united_the_planFirst up is a new mix. It starts with a remix of UFO’s Planet Plan, basically a rework of Michel Magne’s Grand Theme Malko. Then a Joyce bassline is looped by the Jazz Brothers, manga masterthief Lupin III is given the vibes treatment on the ****** label, and Frank Foster and Michel Legrand provide samples for perhaps the definitive nu jazz track, Loud Minority. Next there’s a white label of Mission Impossible. This was originally intended for the Tom Cruise remake but never featured. Perhaps it was too faithful to the original, keeping Lalo Schifrin’s 5/4 time, which the tired, made-for-blockbuster version by U2’s rhythm section ditched for a predictable 4/4 (more likely, U2 just trumped UFO). After more from Japan, there’s a track from the first Earth box set put out by LTJ Bukem, which samples the great Buddy Rich track Group Shot, and UFO’s Harold McNair-derived waltz.

  1. The Planet Plan (Yellow remix) – United Future Organization
  2. Beatitude – Jazz Brothers
  3. Theme From Lupin The Third ’78 – Toshio Matsuura
  4. Loud Minority – United Future Organization
  5. Mission Impossible – United Future Organization
  6. Off Road – United Future Organization
  7. Theme From Lupin The Third ’80 – Masanori Ikeda
  8. Samba Nexusia – DJ Matsuoka
  9. Samba with J.C. – Poets of Thought
  10. My Foolish Dream – United Future Organization


R-83164-1122074672Next are two I’ve posted before. The first starts with a UFO track that samples the Niteliters floor filler K-Jee (later covered by MFSB for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack) and Gato Barbieri. Then there’s a 10″ using Dennis Coffey’s classic Scorpio (though in this case not the break), a reinterpretation of Oliver Nelson’s Stolen Moments, some Jazzanova (see below), a beautiful deep house B-side from Guidance, Russ Dewbury’s pianomeister discovery on Disorient, a white label that came out on Kevin Beadle’s label, and a Nuphonic track that samples Kenny Clark’s fabulous Big Bang (heard here).

  1. United Future Airlines – UFO
  2. Cosmic Gypsy – UFO
  3. Stolen Moments – UFO
  4. Friends We’ll be (Jazzanova remix) – UFO
  5. Berimbau De Osaha – Easydelics
  6. Fedimes Flight – Jazzanova
  7. Ife Bobowa – Brotherhood of Soul
  8. Corcovado – Mr Hermano
  9. Playing With Fire – Extravaganza
  10. Nexus – Blofeld


jazzanovaFinally, there’s a Jazzanova tribute. The German collective Jazzanova (a name cribbed from an obscure Paulo Alencar record) developed nu jazz a stage further, using characteristic drum programming to add an electro tweak – so successfully that for a while it seemed everyone from the HARYOU Percussion Group to Ian Pooley got a Jazzanova remix. This mix features a bunch of their remixes and a few originals. There’s nu dub from the Thievery Corporation. London’s finest nu disco outfit, Faze Action, contribute a samba and the mix ends with the insanity of Caravelle, a track so crazy that I remember several people initially couldn’t work out what speed to play it on.

  1. Adore – I:Cube
  2. Focus On Sight – Thievery Corporation
  3. Friends We’ll Be (Jazzanova Remix) – UFO
  4. Complete Life (Jazzanova Remix) – Liquid Lounge
  5. Carajillo (Jazzanova Remix) – Truby Trio
  6. Words Of Love (Jazzanova Remix)- Soul Bossa Trio
  7. Metti Una Sera A Cena (Jazzanova Remix) – Balanco
  8. Samba – Faze Action
  9. Watch Them Come (Jazzanova Remix) – Men From The Nile
  10. Atabaque – Jazzanova
  11. Caravelle – Jazzanova



~ by ricardosevere on 01/12/2016.

2 Responses to “Nu Wave”

  1. The original version of the Planet Plan is in the Cosmonaut mix.

  2. Alex Reece’s drum’n’bass remix of Loud Minority is used in this mix.

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