Pop & Rock

A Legend Twice Over


Listening to David Axelrod's The Axelrod Chronicles, it's clear how he managed to reach legendary status in two very distinct genres of music. First, as a producer, he crafted some of the most indelible soul and jazz of the '60s and '70s. Second, his music provided samples for some of hip-hop's most popular artists and songs.

DJ Shadow, Lauryn Hill, Dr. Dre and Mos Def are just some of the artists who've lifted loops from Axelrod's rich and layered cuts. Chronicles features the entire 1974 Fantasy release Heavy Axe, for which Axelrod put together a supergroup of musicians including Gene "Jug" Ammons, Cannonball Adderley, George Duke and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. The disc also offers selections from Axelrod's work with Ammons, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Hampton Hawes and Funk, Inc.

For the uninitiated, check out his take on Carly Simon's hit "You're So Vain." Axelrod injects it with '70s soul, making it sound like a cut from a veteran Stax artist. It's a great gateway to the other, more instrumentally pioneering tracks that leap from thick (almost orchestral) arrangements to R&B nuggets, often within the same cut.

Axelrod is still composing and recording, but his '60s and '70s soul and jazz works carry a street cred for both musicphiles and hip-hop fans alike.

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