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Yesterday's New Quintet Yesterday's Universe

Otis Jackson, Jr. (a.k.a. Madlib) has an astounding ability to shapeshift genres at will. As if being an imaginary five-member group by himself wasn’t challenging enough, Yesterday’s Universe features 10 figment-like groups, all of them conceived in Jackson’s hyperactive mind. Covers–of Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew,” for one–play alongside original gems like the beautiful “Cold Nights and Rainy Days.” This time he invites a couple of non-imaginary musicians to the fold (drummer Karriem Riggins and Azymuth’s Mamão), too, and he stretches beyond the straight-ahead jazz style, delving into Latin delights, leftfield freestyle, and lush ballads. Madlib has stirred up a jazz tour de force that’s one for the musical record books.

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