Yesterday's New Quintet Elle's Theme

As if any further evidence of his budding genius was needed, West Coast producer Madlib has devised another alter ego for himself, in the form of Yesterday's New Quintet, a five-piece jazz band. Astute heads will know Madlib as a member of the Lootpack, as a producer/MC and that he was behind the blunted haze and the squeaky voice of Quasimoto on the sleeper album The Unseen. In addition to these identities, Madlib is also the son of jazz session musician Otis Jackson, and it is this lineage he taps into on this release. The EP is a collection of Madlib's take on four obscure jazz tracks while manning the drums, keys, guitar, bass and the kalimba. "Elle's Theme" and "Rerev" are reverential arrangements, with Madlib pushing the drums and keys up front. On the flip side, Madlib picks up the pace on "Herbal Scent" and takes pains to accentuate breaks just waiting to be sampled. On the final track, the beautiful "Sunrays," he comes full circle, laying down a mellow, jazzy, hip-hop reading. While it's hard to determine where Madlib's experimentation in this project will ultimately lead to, from this evidence, it's no doubt an interesting excursion from a producer who should be watched intently. (Stones Throw)