(swiped from Pitchfork Media)
The psychedelic jazz composer David Axelrod (pictured) is not the same David Axelrod who masterminded Barack Obama's presidential campaign, but this Axelrod is more important for our purposes here at Pitchfork. This Axelrod got his start producing ridiculously lush soul records for Lou Rawls before going on to work his swirl on weirdos as diverse as jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and garage-rock freaks the Electric Prunes. And, weirdly enough, his work is probably more widely heard these days than it was when he was at his 70s peak, thanks to all the rap producers who have plundered his catalogue extensively. On songs like Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode" and Lil Wayne's "Dr. Carter", a lot of what you're hearing comes straight from Axelrod.
Over the coming months, VTech's Timeless Concert Series will honor Axelrod, along with a few other influential producers and arrangers--crate-digger faves all-- in a ridiculously cool-sounding set of events. The shows will take place in Los Angeles, at California State University's Harriet and Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex. On April 5, Axelrod will perform along with a 26-piece orchestra at the series' final show, with turntablist J.Rocc opening.
The other shows will also feature orchestras and opening act DJ/producers; the openers will design a set based on the headlining composer's work. The first concert, on February 1, will feature Ethiopian jazz OG Mulatu Astatke and a 15-piece orchestra, with opening sets by Cut Chemist, Quantic, and Stones Throw label head Egon. On February 22, chamber musicians Carlos Nino and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson will debut their "Suite for Ma Dukes", which pays tribute to deceased stoner-rap deity J. Dilla. That program promises special guests in addition to the usual orchestra and DJs. Since Dilla's past collaborators include guys like Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes and Common, and since those guys love paying him tribute, this could be a seriously star-studded affair. The March 15 show will feature the Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai, a 30-piece band, and opening sets from Madlib and DJ Nuts.