Remember Us3’s debut shot back in ’93? You should do: Hand On The Torch was Blue Note’s first ever platinum selling album, a veritable global phenomenon that sold over 2.5 million copies and spawned the hit single Cantaloop. Twenty years on group co-founder and band leader Geoff Wilkinson marks the occasion by releasing The Third Way: Hand on The Torch Volume II.
Says Geoff: “On Hand On The Torch, I used a lot of well-known jazz samples, and I avoided that with the following albums. I didn’t want Us3 to be just about Blue Note’s greatest hits.”
The Third Way sees Wilkinson go back to basics, using classic jazz tracks as the basis for many of the songs. This time though, he uses ‘interpolations’ – recreations of portions of classic jazz tracks – rather than samples. “It’s the follow up album I never made at the time and represents a satisfying bookend to the first Us3 album, he says.”
Dizzy Gillespie’s Manteca, Duke Ellington’s It Don’t Mean a Thing… , Lee Morgan’s The Sidewinder and Horace Silver’s Nutville are just four of the classic tunes that Wilkinson has chosen to interpolate. They sit alongside nine originals..
Although Us3 has always been about live musicians, they play a much larger and focused role on The Third Way. All of the players are long-time Us3 members, including saxophonist Ed Jones, trumpeters Chris Storr and Bryan Corbett, keyboardist Mike Gorman, bassist Neville Malcolm, and DJ First Rate. The album’s MC responsibilities are shared by a trio of rappers also drawn from Us3’s history: Tukka, KCB and Akil Dasan.
To commemorate this 20th anniversary, Blue Note Records will also release a digitally remastered and expanded new 2-CD 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Hand On The Torch that includes an extra disc of remixes- including four new remixes of Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) – instrumentals and a 16-page booklet.
The Third Way: Hand on The Torch Volume II is released on Us3.com Records
Hand On The Torch 2CD 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is on Blue Note Records from October 14, 2013
Better yet – we have five copies of each album to be won. All you have to do is email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell us your name and address and answer this very simple question: Who founded the Blue Note label? Too easy? Think of us as generous.