As you might have gathered from my last few posts, I've been revisiting British label BBE's and their The Beat Generation series quite a lot recently. Besides some of the finest beat wizards in the game (Jay Dee, DJ Spinna, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, will.i.am, DJ Jazzy Jeff, A Touch of Jazz, and King Britt) they also allowed some legendary musicians make their own installments. The best case in point is "Don Cello & Friends", an album conceived as the alter-ego of orchestrator and string genius Larry Gold,. The 12 track LP is today out of print and is by far the hardest out of the B.G.'s catalouge, but is a beautiful and very eclectic mix of hip-hop beats, R&B and soul, funk, jazz and even some elements mainly associated with classical music. The under title of the cover is "classic Philly Soul" which is a fitting description.
Hip-hop heads who still read credits should be well aware of who Larry Gold is, especially fans of The Roots. But Gold's history in fact go way back; already in the '70s he orchestrated string orchestras for several classic soul records such as . After a brief hiatus, hip-hop and R&B producers got their eyes up for Gold's unique sound which always adds something great to the respective songs. ?uestlove of The Roots was one of the first to hire Gold to orchestrate the string section on almost every single one of their albums - including work on the groups' classic "Can't Stop This", work for Erykah Badu, Common, D'Angelo, Bilal, and many more plus was a part of The Roots' and Jay-Z's MTV Unplugged show a few years back. With such a resumé, it was only right that BBE offered Gold a chance to both executive and produce a solo album by himself, where he took on the alterego of Don Cello; "Larry Gold Presents Don Cello and Friends" which was released in 2003.
The 12 track LP features a wide array of different styles, and was heavily genre-bending, though the hip-hop and R&B aesthetics was prevalent throughout. Just like the majority of the BBE's previous parts in the Beat Generation series, the album features a host of talented emcees and singer that really makes the music justice. Master rhymer Black Thought appears on two stand-out tracks, and so does Dice Raw, the beautiful singstress Jill Scott, Floetry, Bunny Sigler, Jaguar Wright, and many more. It's a real chill out record that should be heard by everyone; unfortunately it's been out of print for quite some time. That doesn't neccesarily mean we can't listen to the project in full, thanks to a streaming over @ NevaHeardUnit. I provided the link below,so stream away and let the mausic sooth you for the next hour because this is a real stellar piece of work. Enjoy!
01. Larry Gold - "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now"
02. Carrol Ridick - "Lovin' You"
03. Gerald Levert - "Dance"
04. Floetry & I - "Hope"
05. Kameelah - "Traveling"
06. Nanda - "Traveling"
07. Handa - "Feel So Good"
08. Kindred - "All That You Are"
08. Jaguar Wright - "All I Need"
09. Erro - "Just Dreaming"
10. Cristal - "Everybody"
11. Bunny Sigler - "All I"