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Electronic/Dance - Released July 25, 2011 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz - Released March 28, 2011 | Impossible Ark - Unfold

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Electronic/Dance - Released March 21, 2011 | Tru Thoughts

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Electronic/Dance - Released February 28, 2011 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz - Released April 6, 2009 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz - Released May 28, 2007 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz - Released May 28, 2007 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz - Released March 19, 2007 | Tru Thoughts

When Ben Lamdin first started Nostalgia 77, he played the role of the mastermind producer, cutting and pasting snippets of soul songs together to make his own brand of hip-hop beats. Later he switched to a part-time player, adding his skills on guitar, piano, and drums as well as his compositional talents in jazz-laced numbers. For his fourth LP, Everything Under the Sun, Lamdin takes an instrumental backseat, contributing solely his songwriting, arranging, and production skills and letting others take over. What results is something that -- while it still retains some of that Nostalgia 77 groove found on The Garden -- fits much more comfortably in that kind of smooth jazz, lounge realm, where looking good and having the right drink in hand are key. The musicians involved with the album are talented enough, tapping out intricate rhythms and solos and staying tight and clean, but the whole thing is so slick, so cool, that it's hard to feel much affection towards it. It's safe, even during the improvisational sections, and singers Lizzy Parks and Beth Rowley, while they both have nice voices, seem a little too distant, a little too detached, to really draw the audience in, to make them believe in what they're saying. There are complicated lines, there are intelligent, mature arrangements, but Everything Under the Sun still comes across as a little naïve, and a little fake, like it's done by people who are simply trying to make a record like how they think one is supposed to sound, like how they've been told how one should sound, without knowing how one does sound. This shows, unfortunately, in the end result, and makes the album easy enough to skip over. © Marisa Brown /TiVo

R&B - Released January 28, 2007 | Tru Thoughts

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Jazz - Released January 28, 2007 | Tru Thoughts

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Dance - Released March 21, 2005 | Tru Thoughts

The difference in spirit between Ben Lamdin's first and second Nostalgia 77 albums is tipped off by their titles. While 2004's Songs for My Funeral was fittingly downcast, The Garden is instead saturated with bright, vibrant energy. They're quite dissimilar in setup as well, with the debut's hip-hop roots exchanged for a combination of programming and actual live humans creating groove-driven jazz indebted to a range of recordings from the late '50s through the '70s. Any given cut, save for a thick, neck-winding take on the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" (featuring Alice Russell, a vocalist who stomps all over fellow Brit Joss Stone), is likely to fool the average jazz head into thinking it was waxed at least three decades ago. When filed alongside the likeminded releases by Yesterday's New Quintet, Quantic, and Cinematic Orchestra, The Garden will have no trouble holding its own. The sleeve artwork ironically looks a lot more like Rhythm Corps' Common Ground than Don Cherry's Complete Communion, so don't be surprised if a half-awake record-store clerk puts the disc in the "R" section. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Dance - Released December 1, 2004 | Tru Thoughts