2013 marks the 20th anniversary of Us3’s multi-million selling debut album “Hand On The Torch”. In honour of that, the new Us3 album “The Third Way (Hand On The Torch Vol II)” marks a return to the classic Us3 sound, with 5 of the 14 tracks containing interpolations of a number of well-known jazz standards, including Dizzy Gillespie’s “Manteca”, Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing”, and Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder”.
MC duties are taken by 3 former Us3 collaborators; Akil Dasan (“Schizophonic” & “Say What!?”), KCB (“Broadway & 52nd”), and Tukka (“Hand On The Torch”). A video for the lead track “Never Go Back” can be seen on the Us3videos channel on YouTube (from September 16th).
An excellent budget compilation of the wonderful Bethlehem Records label - what a roster of artists they had. Very good sound too. The Bethlehem label focused on jazz releases, and this set collects some great examples of jazz–vocally and instrumentally–between the years 1958-62. One look at the artists on this 60 track 2 CD set shows how many fine artists released music on the label. Like other collections from One Day Music, there's no booklet, only a short paragraph about the label and a few of the featured artists. The digitally remastered sound is good overall within the limits of recording styles of the era.