- Kenny Dixon Jr. is the kind of DJ whose selections transcend time and place. He can drop a '70s soul jam as naturally as a ubiquitous hit from Ibiza. He makes everything sound like his. His productions follow suit; dig up any KDJ 12-inch from the past 20 years and it'll sound fresh. His latest, a 7-inch from a larger collaboration with Michigan-based clothing company Carhartt (including a record bag and t-shirts), proves it. KDJ has dug out "J.A.N. (Short Version)," an abridged take of an 11-minute Moodymann track that came out on a single-sided 12-inch back in 2001. It's a sought-after gem that remains a highlight of his catalogue, although this re-release is a limited-edition.
Some might grumble at an incomplete version of a rare classic, but at least this six-minute edit uses the prime dance floor parts. "J.A.N."'s first half boasts a grinding bassline and some eerie samples, choral vocals and frigid strings that spread over the groove. It works up a fever by delaying the climax, which feels even more potent without the original's rambling, noodly outro. (That said, one RA commenter complained, "The good part is missing.")
"5800 Cass Ave" is named for the location of Carhartt's new Detroit store. It's a slow-burner based on a dreamy vocal sample and playful keyboards, which ends up feeling inconsequential compared to "J.A.N.," but then so would most things. This 7-inch is all about the A-side, and it's a welcome reprise of a cherished tune in the KDJ catalogue. "You probably have in your vault... nothing but magic," says the spoken word that runs throughout the track (cheekily taken from an Electrifying Mojo interview with Prince in the mid-'80s). In the context of this odd little reissue, the sample is even funnier, and a reminder that dipping into the Moodymann archives is always a treat.
A J.A.N. (Short Version)
B 5800 Cass Ave