- Personnel: Guru, Baybe, True Master, Jason Kay, Dee C. Lee, Gus Da Vigilante, Lucien, Bu (vocals); Brian Holt (guitar, keyboards, bass); J. Rodriguez (flute, clarinet); Wallace Collins (digerido); Paul Ferguson (piano, keyboards); Jan Kincaid (piano); Dennis Mitchell (keyboards); Stuart Zender (bass); Bernard Purdie (drums); DJ Red Handed, Darren Galea, DJ Sean-Ski, D-Sire (scratches); Panchi Da Wild Commachi (background vocals).
- Additional personnel: Kenny Garrett, Freddie Hubbard, Ini Kamoze, Ronny Jordan, Courtney Pine, Reuben Wilson, Jamiroquai, Sweet Sable, Kool Keith, The Solsonics, Donald Byrd, DJ Scratch.
- Producers include: The Solsonics, Guru, Carlos Bess, Nikke Nicole, True Master.
- Engineers include: Leo "Swift" Morris, Joe Quinde, Kieren Walsh.
- Recorded at D&D Studios and Firehouse Studio, New York, New York.
- The follow-up to the heavily acclaimed Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1. This album might not have quite as much jazz-rap power as the first volume did, but it's still quite good. Some of the big guns of jazz found their way into the album, including Branford Marsalis (who, of course, had already experimented with urban beats a bit with his Buckshot Lefonque project), Freddie Hubbard, Ramsey Lewis, and Kenny Garrett. Underground rapper Kool Keith (at this point still a member of the Ultramagnetics) also makes an appearance. Dancehall reggae princess Patra is included on a track, as are Chaka Khan and Me'Shell N'Degeocello; Jamiroquai helps out in another. In some ways, the personnel on this album may be slightly superior to the first outing, but the music also seems a tiny bit blander. Still, what makes the Jazzmatazz albums special is the live synthesis of jazz and rap. With Guru's vocals over the top of live jazz performers (as opposed the usual samples), interplay is facilitated between the two, and thus a whole new dimension is added to the fusion. For someone interested in jazz-rap in general, the first album is a higher priority (as would be Us3's albums, with extensive Blue Note sampling), but this album is still high on the list. ~ Adam Greenberg
Spin (9/95, p.112) - 7 - Flawed Yet Worthy - "...it flows organically....the tunes...juggle drama and beats with lightness and elan, balancing immediacy and indirection. They're hooky without being pop, jazzy without being abstract....the general level of creativity is staggering..."
Down Beat (11/95, p.60) - 3.5 Stars - Good/Very Good - "...Guru is heads above other rappers integrating jazz into their music. Plus, his latest foray into jazz-rap territory continues to inform younger audiences about the old school..."
Vibe (9/95, pp.163-164) - "...reeks of adulthood....instead of risking potshots from conservatives, Guru (in a bolder move) risks his rep with his hardcore fans. He flaunts King-isms to folks who pray to Malcolm....a comment on the way things are, but it is also a none-too-subtle request for a change of mind..."
The Source (9/95, p.98) - 3.5 Mics - Dope - "...JAZZMATAZZ II proves to be a refreshing work that sends good messages about family, life and the cultures of jazz and hip-hop..."
Jazziz (12/95, p.77) - "...the purest collaboration in the history of the hip hop jazz movement....solid, steady soulkick and...profound poetic presence...reminds the listener to look the truth in the face and address it, conquer it, rap about it, and make sure to remember that Guru knew it first..."
NME (Magazine) (7/22/95, p.46) - 8 (out of 10) - "...outstrips the first for confidence, funkiness and good vibes. He's really onto something here....So which is the side project, Gang Starr or Jazzmatazz? Who cares? Fact is, out of one team, we've got two great acts..."