Local Licks 

This week we review Jaswho? Mark Levine Nonet, Y.O.C., and Sunspot Jonz.

Jaswho?, Re: Droid Musik. Oakland producer Jaswho? is one of the most prolific "deep house" artists in the East Bay; he just graced this column in October for a previous iteration of his Musik series. And here's the remix. Actually, this new disc only features a handful of tracks from Nudroid, opting to do a "close-read" approach rather than tackle the whole thing at once. Cool idea, but it's less dynamic than the original. (Temple Music Group)

Mark Levine Nonet @ The Reunion.The late Woody Herman Shaw Jr. enjoyed a brief Bay Area sojourn in the mid-1970s, during which time he played every Monday night at San Francisco club The Reunion, accompanied by a nine-piece ensemble. Pianist Mark Levine led the Nonet band, which also featured Latin trombonist Wayne Wallace. This grainy live recording captures one set from that period, complete with a fiery version of "Giant Steps." (Jazzschool Records)

Y.O.C., Stunnaholics Vol. 1. Lest you doubt the veracity of the "ADD generation" label, look no further than Oakland rap duo Y.O.C. (acronym for "Youngstas Outta Control"). Their fast-paced raps run the gamut of adolescent rap themes (sex, avarice, gamesmanship, recreational drug use) but seem to honestly articulate the rappers' inner-most desires. Emcees De$cent and D-Tae are apparently still in high school, which may explain the high-pitched, croaky quality of their voices. For teenagers, they've covered a lot of ground, and some of it is nothing to boast about. (B2Z Entertainment)

Sunspot Jonz, Galaxy of Dreams.Stalwart underground rapper Sunspot Jonz has entered a period of youthful regression. His old flows emphasized narrative; his new material is more abstract and free associative. In the title track, Jonz raps a series of rhymed couplets that veer from sex to braggadocio. He also refers to himself as a self-contained solar system. Hubris? Yes. But also inspiring. (Worldwide Massmedia/Revenge Entertainment)


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