David Axelrod is probably someone you”ve never heard of, but that doesn”t mean you shouldn”t have. He”s just too cool for you to know about him, and he likes it that way. “The Ax” as he is sometimes known, originated in the late-“50s producing some pioneering West Coast jazz work. From the “60s to the “70s, Axelrod used Capitol Record”s Studio B as his playground for music, toiling and tinkering with some very innovative works of art. Or maybe you”ll recognize the film score he did for 1976″s “Cannonball” probably not. Though his career may have faded in the time between then and now, his legacy and drive have not.

Paul Wong
Director Ed Burns has a sexy profile.<br><br>Courtesy of Paramount

2001″s self-titled David Axelrod, marks a new step in the career of this legendary composer. Running only 35 minutes in length, David Axelrod is a sonic mind trip, ranging from jazz (the horn driven “Big B Plus” and “Jimmy T”), to beat poetry (“Loved Boy”), to hip-hop. Yes, hip-hop. Since the “90s, hip-hop has brought renewed interest in Axelrod by often sampling his back catalog. The song “The Little Children” on this album is Axelrod”s take on this phenomenon.

This album is especially remarkable when you consider that Axelrod wrote almost all of it over 30 years ago. He toyed with the idea of composing the piece, but it fell victim to record company changes and mergers.

A friend stumbled upon it years later and persuaded him to finally prepare it. He went back to work in Studio B, using seven old tracks and two new ones for this album. David Axelrod produced a backdated work that spans decades, yet is still so fresh.

Grade: B

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