Jason “DJ Logic” Kibler contributed to redefine the turntablist as a jazz improviser on Project Logic (1999) and especially Anomaly (2001).
Jason “DJ Logic” Kibler was a kid from the Bronx who learned to use the turntable at parties. After a short stint in the rock band Eye & I, DJ Logic collaborated with jazz musicians Don Byron and Graham Haynes and with rock guitarist Vernon Reid. In 1996, DJ Logic joined jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Woods.
Project Logic (Ropeadope, 1999) is his own project. Helped out by Melvin Gibbs on bass and Skoota Warner on drums, DJ Logic sets out to redefine the turntablist as a jazz improviser and the mixer as an orchestra conductor. DJ Logic and his rhythm section recorded their jams, then DJ Logic enlisted a number of external contributions (from Teo Macero to Marc Ribot) and submerged them with effects. In his profession, this amounts to a virtuoso performance. Shea’s Groove is his manifesto and tribute to his predecessor David Shea. Gig 1 and Bag Of Tricks are powerful grooves, and Spider Dance is as close as he gets to rock music, while Mnemonics sounds like Bill Laswell’s fusion of Indian and drum’n’bass.
Boasting countless guests (Vernon Reid, John Medesky, Melvin Gibbs), Anomaly (Atlantic, 2001) is even more creative. DJ Logic seamlessly integrates the noise of his turntable with the instruments of his jazz combo in tracks that are both ebullient and eloquent. French Quarter is a visceral organ-driven soul-rock rave-up. Black Buddha is a meeting of the turntable with jazzy flute, saxophone, organ and tribal drumming. Trumpet, Caribbean percussions and organ take shifts at leading the upbeat theme of Ron’s House. Far from being cerebral or harsh, the music flows carelessly and warm: Michelle has a catchy refrain and laid-back jamming; Soul Kissing, one of the standouts, is a relatively straightforward dance that mixes exotic, Irish and techno elements, besides piling up xylophone, two violins and turntable. An explicit tribute, Miles Away (that sets a Davis-ian trumpet into a chaotic, industrial landscape of percussions), further increases the jazz quotient. Drone picks up from these meandering harmonies and continues into wilder territory, letting all the instruments improvise against each other. The tracks where the scratching takes the lead are the strongly syncopated Frequency One and the hyper-funky Bean E Man. On the other hand, Afronautical is Afro-dub full of electronic effects, and Hip-Hopera (the “experimental” standout) is a surreal layer of wordless vocals, looping strings, steady drumming, electronic noises, funny scratches, that achieves a pensive, dramatic emphasis. This jazz combo with turntable plays a music of irregularities that is the ideal extension of the very notion of the turntablist.
Yohimbe Brothers are Vernon Reid and DJ Logic, attempting a fusion of hip-hop, hard-rock and electronic noise on Front End Lifter (Rope-a-Dope, 2002) and The Tao of Yo (Thirsty Ear, 2004).
Groundtruther’s Longitude was a collaboration with Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte.
DJ Logic’s Zen Of Logic (Ropeadope, 2006) bridged hip-hop, jazz and world music, and displayed a stronger hip-hop element than any of the creative collaborations of the era.