5 Hidden Gems from Jazz Greats to Sample


5 Hidden Gems from Jazz Greats to Sample

From horn stabs to Rhodes improvisations and a spaced-out Mini Moog. Let us guide you through some lesser-known works by jazz icons Dexter Wansel, Billy Cobham, Weldon Irvine, Bob James, and Maceo Parker. All ready to be sampled on Tracklib.




October 21, 2021

Billy Cobham

billy cobham

Since his debut album Spectrum in 1973, influential drummer and bandleader Billy Cobham is known for his progressive work on the cutting edge of jazz, rock, and fusion. A true icon in his own right. He's considered to be "fusion's greatest drummer," in the words of biographer Steve Huey. Also after groundbreaking work with Miles Davis (Bitches Brew), John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra (Inner Mounting Flame), and as a CTI session musician for the likes of Grover Washington Jr., George Benson, and Milt Jackson.

Caravaggio was made together with Italian composer and pianist Massimo Colombo and bassist Jeff Berlin who, in terms of bass players, was a pioneer in jazz-rock in the 70s together with Stanley Clarke and Weather Report’s Jaco Pastorius. A traditional trio of bass, drums, and piano reenvisioned by three forward-thinking musicians.

Weldon Irvine

weldon irvine

Late pianist Weldon Irvine was sampled by a who's who of hip-hop producers including Just Blaze, The Alchemist, Q-Tip ("Award Tour" - hear a little nod to the original by Irvine himself in "Freaky Rita" below), and Madlib—the latter even paid homage to Irvine with the album A Tribute to Brother Weldon under one of his countless aliases, Monk Hughes. Irvine was a formative influence on the creation of Madlib’s one-man-jazz-outfit Yesterday's New Quintet. Weldon Irvine loved hip-hop, and hip-hop loved Weldon Irvine. That makes his Keyboards Wild, DJ's Smilerelease on Tracklib even more special.

Maceo Parker & Fred Wesley

Maceo Parker

Another iconic player known for long-time appreciation for hip-hop and sampling, is saxophonist Maceo Parker. We recently featured his work with James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic in more detail, in case you wanna find out more on why his music was adored by the likes of De La Soul, 2Pac, Run-DMC, among many others. For now, dig into his Horn Riffs For DJ's recorded with trombonist and fellow The J.B.’s/Parliament-Funkadelic musician Fred Wesley to find some horn stabs or one-on-one brass magic.

Dexter Wansel

dexter wansel

Dexter Wansel was a true visionary producer, keyboardist, and arranger. The synthesized space oddities on records like 1978’s Voyager and, most notably, 1976’s Life On Mars are iconic bodies of work by the Philadelphia-based soul/jazz-funk musician. Just take those first 20 seconds of “Theme From The Planets”: classic drums! Endlessly sampled. On Tracklib you find some of his improvisations on piano, Hammond, Rhodes & Mini Moog to space out to yourself.

Bob James & Earl Klugh

bob james

Nope, no “Nautilus” this time around. With hundreds of songs by Bob James on Tracklib, there’s a wide array of turns to take on what to flip by the contemporary jazz innovator. Such as One On One (1979), a collaboration with guitarist Earl Klugh. The acoustic guitar player previously worked with Yusef Lateef, George Benson (White Rabbit), and Hubert Laws, and this smooth, breezy record together with Bob James earned them a Grammy for *Best Pop Instrumental Performance.*In the studio, they were backed by musicians including bassist Ron Carter and drummer Harvey Mason, who was part of Bob James’ Fourplay jazz quartet.

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