The debut album by the Hidden Jazz Quartett is bringing on something special. „Coming with a strong flow, and continue to grow,“ Gang Starr said in „Jazz Thing“, and that’s exactly what „Raw and Cooked“ is about. Here we have it: A group of fantastic players, a strong idea of what the music should sound like and a sense of togetherness. „Raw and Cooked“ is past, present and future combined.
„The idea of the Hidden Jazz Quartett came naturally,“ Ralf Zitzmann, mastermind of production behind the eclectic sounds of the Hidden Jazz Quartett as well as head of Agogo Records plus one of the most respected elder statesmen of the German club scene says. „One night, while our Calamari Moon club in Hannover was cooking and the DJs were spinning spicy jazz sounds I thought: It sounds so fresh and vibrant like there’s a jazz quartet hidden somewhere behind the curtain.“ Said and done, Zitzmann took the phone and rang Stephan Abel (Saxophones), Lutz “Hammond” Krajenski (Hammond, Keys), Matthias “Maze” Meusel (drums) and Olaf Casimir (bass), all well travelled as well as well known jazz musicians around the country and the Hidden Jazz Quartett was born. In comes producer Christian Decker (Fury In The Slaughterhouse), a man with the necessary skills and ears to create a boombastic jazz style.
„Raw and Cooked“ kicks off with the seductive „Luvlite“, a smooth modern R&B-meets-soul tune enlightened by the voice of Bajka (Radio Citizen, Bonobo, Dalindeo). UK modern soul legend Omar then digs deep with the ultra-cool „High Heels“, which has been out as a HJQ vinyl 7inch release in 2012 and is sold out long since. After that it is time for the quartet to swing. „The Footlocker“ is pure Camden Dingwalls Acid Jazz joy, like 1988 never happened.
„Tap On The Backdoor“ sees Greg Blackman (Featurecast, Renegades Of Jazz) get on the good foot with a straightforward soul mover before Bajka takes it back to nitty gritty with „Soulsophy“. Enter Anthony Joseph, born in Trinidad and one of the major Afro-meets-Poetry voices of our time. „Kimberley Hotel“ is a kind of Last Poets vs. Hustler’s Convention excursion translated for our times. HJQ offer a well crafted, late Sixties, early Seventies Blaxploitation sound before they go ‘Masterblaster’ jammin’ in “Nardis” and very European in the mystical instrumental „Wälzer“, which actually was their first release in 2010 on a limited edition 10“ vinyl.
Rounding up „Raw and Cooked“ is Tim Hollingsworth with an almost spoken word late night jazz standard called „Lush Life“. This could well be the theme tune for the Hidden Jazz Quartett, exemplified by the bonus versions of „Luvlite“ („Instrumental“ and the Jon Kennedy Remix). Lets not forget the Lack Of Afro version of „High Heels“, who delivers electric Boogaloo fun galore. “This album is a like a dream come true,” Ralf Zitzmann smiles. “With ‘Raw & Cooked’ nothing has been rushed. It is like with a good meal and a great wine. You have to let things loose and have them find their own way.”
There is all you need in “Raw & Cooked”: expert musicianship, an honest message of peace & love and a great spirit. Get on down with the Hidden Jazz Quartett.