Album Review: Tom Showtime - The Jam Thief

12 June 2012 | 4:25 pm | Aleksia Barron

This album is a delicious meal of jazz and hip hop, with side orders of blues and funk.

A man can be many things, and Tom Showtime – DJ, producer and saxophonist – displays his many talents with aplomb on his debut album The Jam Thief. The record heavily features jazz-oriented production with some occasional hip hop leanings, ultimately yielding one of the most satisfying mixed-genre aural offerings so far this year. Tom Showtime's passion for jazz holds centre stage on this album, not only in the musical samples chosen, but in the spoken samples and overall ethos of the record. Look no further than the six-minute tribute to famed saxophonist Charlie Parker, wittily titled Natural Horn Killer, which combines the meandering feel of a jazz track with slick sampling.

The Jam Thief is a clever title for this record: it speaks to Tom Showtime's decision to appropriate jazz, with its hallmark improvisation, into a more structured, production-based sound. The album is a walking tour through syncopation and classic brass sounds, punctuated with verses on occasional tracks from Gift Of Gab, Lotek and Ash.One. In some ways, the hip hop-oriented tracks feel like they belong to a different album, particularly the slightly heavier Spaces And Places. That said, they're relatively infrequent and spaced throughout the record, and they do serve as a reminder of the strength of Tom Showtime's beats in a collaborative context.

This album is a delicious meal of jazz and hip hop, with side orders of blues and funk. It'll draw you into its relaxed groove and take you on a chilled, head-nodding journey of great beats and late-night flavours. For those looking for the place where hip hop and jazz intersect, Tom Showtime is ready to be your guide.