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Kahil El’Zabar Gets Remixed Aug. 1

When Danger Mouse mashed together the music of the Beatles’ White Album and the lyrics of Jay-Z’s The Black Album to make the underground hit The Grey Album in 2004, rap and rock fans everywhere stood up and took notice. Now, two years later, jazz fans can experience the same type of genre-bending with The Deeper Soul Remix Project, an eclectic collection that mixes the African rhythms of percussionist Kahil El’Zabar (pictured) and his Ethnic Heritage Ensemble with the techno beats of various electronic artists such as Henrik Schwarz, IG Culture and Kemit Sources. The double-disc set will be released Aug. 1 by Deeper Soul Recordings.

The Deeper Soul Remix Project‘s seven tracks include one song by El’Zabar and three songs by the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, most of which are remixed twice-as a result, there are two versions of “Our Time Is Now,” by El’Zabar, and two versions of “Ancestral Song” and “Running in the Streets” by EHE. “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” a previously unreleased EHE track, is only remixed once. The second CD includes the originals of “Running in the Streets,” “Ancestral Song” and “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands”-all drastically different from the remixes on the first CD.

The renowned rhythmic skill of El’Zabar, who was recognized as “Artist of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune in 2002, is highlighted and manipulated by the intense beats of every remix. Stand-outs include “Our Time Is Now,” remixed by IG Culture to accentuate El’Zabar’s use of simple spoken word and intriguing scat vocals with a stuttering, heavy beat, and “Ancestral Song,” revamped by Kemit Sources to underscore the soulful and genuine West African-feel of the original EHE version. While the project may not sit well with jazz purists, it is an intriguing, head-thumping turn towards the future.

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