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CD REVIEW: Cori Jacobs - "CopperSkin"
By Gian F - 06/28/2003 - 02:16 AM EDT

Artist: Cori Jacobs
Album: "CopperSkin"
CD Review: Genre: Urban Jazz
Sounds Like: ?
Technical Grade: 8
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10
Commercial Value: 8
Overall Talent Level: 10
Songwriting Skills: 10
Performance Skill: 10
Best Songs: The Only One For Me, Dedos Largos, Breathe, Farewell Aaliyah
Weakness: ?
CD Review: We have all seen the attitude adjustment that hip-hop has given to r&b, but could it do the same for jazz? A genre that is typically appreciated by "older" audiences and used as background music by others? That's the challenge that faced Cori Jacobs, an accomplished pianist/producer from LA, who submitted "CopperSkin," his second full length CD.

From the opening of the title track, "CopperSkin," which aptly uses spoken word to set the stage and mood for the musical journey that we are about to embark upon, we are quickly introduced to Cori's refined piano and keyboard playing skills that blend melody, strings, and baselines together in what seems and feels like an effortless motion for him.

The journey continues and becomes decidedly more hip-hop as we pass through "18th St," and get a glimpse into Cori's "Clear Soul," the second and third tracks on the CD. While the baselines and drum programming will keep your head bobbing, it's the detail in his musical arrangements that will keep your ears stimulated as they become the signature of this project.

Cori even handles rapping duties on "Love, Light, & Butterflies" which showcases the mature, softer, peaceful side of hip-hop. Track, after track, he manages to reveal a different musical dimension of his production skills, while consistently displaying the many different nuances of his talent - all within the parameters of commercially structured songs.

As you get deeper into the CD and reach "Emari Myles," & "Dedos Largos," you are almost forced to admit that this guy is putting on a keyboard playing/music production clinic as he blends different musical elements and styles that shrewdly incorporate the talents of guest musicians and vocalists. It's a clinic that inexperienced producers can learn from, and industry people should take note of.

Like a lot of independent projects, it's not without flaws. The deficiencies that I heard in the engineering/mastering can be easily remedied with financial assistance - a small challenge in comparison to the larger challenge he faced in making a project that would appeal to adult jazz enthusiasts, and young hip-hop lovers. He met that challenge, and both audiences were greatly rewarded.

Advice: Get it mastered professionally. In the mean time, celebrate this extraordinary accomplishment. An innovative jazz/hip-hop label is looking for this material...you just have to find them.

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