Madlib received a rare opportunity with unfettered access to the storied Blue Note archives and permission to use them as he wished for a remix/interpretation album released on Blue Note itself. The result, Shades of Blue, is really more of a Yesterdays New Quintet album, but Madlib's name is far more recognizable then his alter ego and faux-supergroup, YNQ. So, Shades of Blue features Madlib interpreting and remixing Blue Note classics such as Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" and Gene Harris' "The Look of Slim" (remixed here as "Slim's Return"). Overall, a good time is had by all, as he doesn't just sample the tracks as much as fit them into his own sound. That's why the record would be better compared to the Yesterdays New Quintet debut, Angles Without Edges, where Madlib takes on the personas of numerous instrumentalists (going so far as to credit them individually in the liner notes) and make laid-back break-heavy jams that serve great as background party stuff -- and that's really where Shades of Blue works the best. Intent listening doesn't really give much up, but for smooth subconscious grooves, it's perfect.
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