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Us3

 

Us3 is a jazz-rap group founded in London in 1992. Their name was inspired by a Horace Parlan recording produced by Alfred Lion, the founder of Blue Note Records. On their debut album, Hand on the Torch, Us3 exclusively used samples from the Blue Note Records catalogue, all originally produced by Lion.

Us3 is the brainchild of London-based producer Geoff Wilkinson. Formed in 1992 alongside production partner Mel Simpson, Us3 had two previous incarnations. The first, a limited edition white label 12" release in 1990 called "Where Will We Be In The 21st Century". The release garnered the attention of independent label Ninja Tune, resulting in NW1's 1991 12" "The Band Played The Boogie" featuring UK Rapper Born 2 B. It sampled a dancefloor tune of the burgeoning jazz dance scene, Grant Green's "Sookie Sookie", originally released on Blue Note Records.

The jazz/hip-hop fusion collective Us3 scored a major hit in 1994 with "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)," a song that displayed the group's fondness for sampling classic recordings on the Blue Note label (in this case, Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island"). The group was founded in London in 1991 when concert promoter and jazz writer Geoff Wilkinson met Mel Simpson, who was writing music for television shows and ad jingles and had once played keyboards with John Mayall. The two produced an independent single, "Where Will We Be in the 21st Century?," which sold less than 250 copies. In 1992, their song "The Band That Played the Boogie" attracted the attention of Blue Note owner Capitol Records, which gave Simpson and Wilkinson free rein to sample anything from the catalog. The two immediately went to work, hiring several musicians and rappers Kobie Powell and Rahsaan Kelly, with Tukka Yoot joining later. The sessions resulted in the hit "Cantaloop" and the album Hand on the Torch. The group toured Japan and Europe, gradually weaning itself away from using samples in a live setting, and played a well-received show at the 1993 Montreux Jazz Festival. Hand on the Torch was ignored by most jazz publications, but was chosen Album of the Year by Japan's Swing Journal, and the group were named Jazz Musicians of the Year by Britain's The Independent. After a nearly three-year delay, Us3 returned in 1997 with Broadway & 52nd, an album which received positive reviews but failed to generate a hit.

90's Hits

Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)

Jazz Music

Cantaloop

Members of this Group


Catalin

clubuser08

click67

Jeff

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