Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Q: Soul Bossa Nostra is a 2010 studio album by Quincy Jones, recorded with various artists. The album was released on November 9, 2010. The title of the album refers to Jones' 1962 instrumental track "Soul Bossa Nova".
"Legendary musician, producer, and entrepreneur Quincy Jones has returned to the world of music, to release his first album in over 15 years. Never heard his stuff? Sure you have! He was the man behind the music on Michael Jackson's chart topping album, Bad. Also, you're probably a fan (or at least I am) of his beautiful daughter and actress Rashida Jones, from The Office/I Love You Man/Parks and Recreation.
Having a mainly jazz and funk related musical background, Quincy brings a mix of flows and flavors with his latest work, Q: Soul Bossa Nostra. While Quincy isn't much on the singing, he brought out a stunning, almost 30 artists in to sing on the album. Sprinkled on the multi-genre-spanning album, you'll hear the likes youngsters Akon, Ludacris, Amy Winehouse, Snoop Dogg, Robin Thicke, Talib Kweli and more, while bringing in the masters of the old school: Barry White and BeBe Winans to name a couple.
I wasn't sure what to expect from such large scale collaboration with Quincy, Scott Storch, Red One, and Jermaine Dupri at the production helm, but I found the entire album very bounce/groove worthy. It's one of those rare gems that can bring artists known for more adult language, but still manages to be amazing while keep the language G Rated.
The album had something for everyone, but as usual, I'll give you my three favorite tracks spanning the album.
The second track, Strawberry Letter 23 is a love jam sung by pop icon Akon. As you would guess, the song samples heavily from The Brothers Johnson song of the same name. Why is this one of my favorites on the album? Well funk is amazing obviously, and I felt like this was the first Akon track that I actually LOVED. Usually Akon just isn't my favorite, but I had to take my hat off on this collaboration.
Betcha Wouldn't Hurt Me was a hell of a groove tune. The 9th track on the album, it's a love story fronted by the boss lady herself, Mary J. Blige (who somehow has not lost one iota of her vocal prowess), with Q-Tip backing her up, and Alfredo Rodriguez on the piano. The song bleeds funk and soul, with a solid slap-bass arrangement, and high-note funk guitar.
I didn't think I would love it as much as I did, but the rebuilt MJ classic of P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) was pretty damn catchy. Singing the main vocals is the master of autotune himself, T-Pain, with Robin Thicke coming in for the second verse. I felt like this new version was more of tribute than trying to rip off a beat of a legend. Besides, Quincy Jones was so close with the late great King of Pop, that this was a welcome addition to the album.
The reason why I loved this album lies in terms with its surprise. For me, it was completely out of the blue. Quincy Jones is a man I would have always had a humble respect for, but with this new album, this clearly extends that respect that much further. The album was released on November 9th, so grab a copy ASAP!" - BehindtheHype
"The veteran composer and arranger Quincy Jones has straddled an astonishing range of musical developments over five decades. He was there with Dizzy Gillespie in 1956. He was there for the scoring of Sidney Lumet's classic noir flick The Pawnbroker. He was there for Frank Sinatra in the 1960s. He was also there for Michael Jackson's Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad albums. Now he's here (or maybe not) for this latest guest-strewn project, right up-to-the-moment, surrounded by all the biggest names in hip hop, pop and RnB. Jones is listed as executive producer, so thankfully he might not be directly responsible for some of the ensuing musical transgressions.
There weren't too many opportunities for Jones to arrange or conduct during the course of this project, which is angled towards the vocal performance, whether sung or rapped. Its instrumental contributions serve mostly as a backdrop to the posturings of its guests. Electro-beats and synth-squiggles are paramount, but they're never too dominant in the production. There's good reason for the opening placement of Ironside, featuring Talib Kweli. This song actually manages to merge retro and modern elements, even though its mix sounds somewhat curiously incongruous, as if its stylistic parts have been locked in a room together. Horns, bongos and car-chase bass are all in place, but this excitement isn't sustained.
Tracks such as Give Me the Night and Secret Garden suffer from an overly saccharine coating, and the absolute nadir is reached with the repellent You Put a Move on My Heart. Wyclef Jean's rhymes on Many Rains Ago are tough, but the musical backing of lightweight bounce doesn't match. Those vocal harmonisers still won't disappear; surely they've got to be going out of fashion soon? Not if the horrific PYT (Pretty Young Thing) has its way. Snoop Dogg improves matters with Get the Funk Out of My Face, which is, er, fairly funky. Puzzlingly, all cussing is excised throughout this disc. It's not clear whether profane versions are in existence. Times have certainly changed.
Amy Winehouse supplies the (very) odd track out, with It's My Party. This brief-but-lusty foray suggests how the album could have had a completely different orientation, feeding off the retro-soul uprising, and maybe boasting Sharon Jones, Jamie Lidell, Lee Fields, Aloe Blacc, Duffy and Charles Bradley as its fantasy guest roster. It might be fruitless to entertain such wishes, but it doesn't feel so futile whilst caught in the midst of spinning this particular disc." - BBC
Recording information: A&R Studios, New York, NY (1971); Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA (1971); Dunham Studios (1971); Fever Recording Studios, Noho, CA (1971); Germano Studios, NY (1971); Henson Recording, Los Angeles, CA (1971); Hit Factory Criteria, Miami, FL (1971); Hypnotize Minds Studios (1971); Leapyear Studios, Los Angeles, CA (1971); Mason Sound, North Hollywood, CA (1971); Morrissound Recording Studios, Tampa, FL (1971); N-Da Basement, Atlanta, GA (1971); Platinum Sound Recording Studio, New York, NY (1971); Plush Recording Studio, Orlando, FL (1971); Record Plant Studios (1971); Sensible Studios (1971); Skyland Studios, MN (1971); SMT Studios, New York, NY (1971); Solitaire Studios, Atlanta, GA (1971); SouthSide Studios, Atlanta, GA (1971); Studio 216 (1971); the Record Plant, Hollywood, CA (1971).
Creator: Ianthe Zevos.
Photographer: Christian Lantry.
Other than a handful of one-offs, producer, composer, and arranger Quincy Jones has been busy outside of the music world, acting as a film producer and a cultural ambassador. Q: Soul Bossa Nostra is his first proper "new" album in 15 years, though it revisits tracks he either composed, recorded, or produced previously with a host of the current era's most popular artists from the R&B, pop, and hip hop worlds. Given his rep, the star power here is not surprising. They re-record classic songs with new singers, or in some cases, add vocals to tracks that never had them at all. The lead-off single is a remake of Shuggie Otis' classic "Strawberry Letter 23," which Jones produced for the Brothers Johnson in 1977. The vocal and production by Akon employ shimmering, slippery hip-hop rhythms, Auto-Tune, and layers of programmed keyboards and backing vocals. The oft-sampled hit "Soul Bossa Nova" appears here as a collaboration between Naturally 7 and Ludacris (who has sampled it himself). Q composed "Ironside" for the '70s television series; he uses the original orchestral and vocal tracks with a rap by Talib Kweli on top. "Tomorrow," with John Legend, was cut by Q and Tevin Campbell in 1990. Campbell is here on a remake of "Secret Garden"; he and Barry White appeared on the signature cut. This version keeps White's vocal, and adds Robin Thicke, LL Cool J, Usher, and Tyrese. "Get the Funk Out of My Face," with Snoop Dogg, retains the Brothers Johnson feel. "P.Y.T." is remade here by T-Pain and Thicke. Bebe Winans' reading of "Everything Must Change, is easily the classiest thing here; it stands out as utterly beautiful. Soul Boss Nostra feels more like a tribute exercise than an album, assembled more for radio play and to attract the holiday and single-track download markets. ~ Thom Jurek
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