teeko’s tip-top

When I listen to a DJ spin at a club, I usually sit there and think about all the different shit I would be spinning if I was on the tables. I’m no DJ, but I know what I like, and I know what makes me want to shake my skinny ass on the dance floor. Bay Area DJ TEEKO spins like he wants people to get off the damn barstool and come see what the DJ’s up to.

What’s cool about his music is that he mixes turntable scratching with live instruments. I’m an instrumental musician who likes hip hop, jazz and club music, so Teeko’s got my attention right off the bat. His album, “My SoundStation,” features jazz saxophonist Kenny Brooks and drummer Jay Lane of Alphabet Soup and Ratdog.

The album’s not seamless or perfect. It also lingers a little bit. One track, “Nice to Meet You Funk,” kind of meanders around for four minutes and doesn’t really build up into anything interesting. I played it for a friend and she said, “This is kinda boring,” and walked right out of the room. His track, “Tribe Stride,” is so chill that I almost forgot the CD was playing. But I’ll hand it to the guy – he’s not afraid to throw in samples of strings and horns and go off in a spacious, fearless, Charles Mingus direction. Most DJs don’t do that shit.

If you ever listened to a Jazzanova record and liked it, there are moments in “My SoundStation” that hit a similar stride. There’s a hint of early DJ Shadow in the album, too. There’s a lot of funk in Teeko’s style. Even Jazzy Jeff said he is the funkiest, most soulful turntablist he’s ever seen. Teeko has honed his chops by performing with jazz players. According to the 4OneFunk Web site, Teeko was a grand prize recipient of the renowned Berklee School of Music‘s 2006 Milestones Innovative Producer’s Contest, too. His resume aint too shabby.

Sometimes Teeko’s album feels like a 90s hip hop mix tape, but other times it sounds like a Garage A Trois vamp. Sometimes it’s not even danceable. “Musical Renaissance” is more an experiment in sounds and voices than your typical turntablism. But that’s what I like most about Teeko – he doesn’t let himself get typical. I’ll get off the damn barstool and check out what he’s doing.

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