The story is here, http://on.wsj.com/1nRuWQZ
This was a fun piece to write as neither of these records are ones that I would been likely to listen closely to unless I was searching for story prospects. When I discovered that two contrasting recordings by jazz vocalists were releasing on the same day, I plopped them into heavy rotation and began to parse.
What I think of the Payne recording is pretty well explained in the prose. The Evans recording as is often the case with the second of the two recordings I’m packaging got the short shrift, not by much, but there was a point that deserved expansion but I lacked the space.
To me, “I Remember When” succeeds not so much because it incorporates so many hip hop influences without sounding stilted but rather because it is about a love and enjoyment of hip hop. I name check J Dilla in the review without explaining much about why he’s there, and my editors let me get away with it. Dilla’s importance to this disc is deeper than a lick here or lick there that remind me of his classic Donuts (actually I was reminded of his stellar remixes of De La Soul’s Stakes is High). Instead, my read of Donuts is that it’s about loving music and explaining the terms. “I Remember When,” accounts for a similar love in a distant genre effectively. To me, that’s the big success of this recording.
Had it come out in mid September rather than mid July, it would have warranted pairing with Jason Moran’s All Rise, which is about loving Fats Waller on Moran’s terms.