US3, music without a surname asier leoz   US 3's new disc, "An Ordinary Day in an Unusual Place", has just reached local record stores, about five years after they became known for their "Broadway & the 52", a doffing of the cap towards giants of the world of Jazz like Coltrane, Gillespie, Parker and all the rest. Any preconceived opinions you might have had on this English trio go straight out the door before you've heard the first five minutes. US3 have been the best band to fuse Jazz and Rap. "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia), which appeared before the "Jazzmatazz" compilation and had much better commercial projection, was the key to everything. They really hit the bull’s-eye by mixing Herbie Hancock music and slow Jamaican style speech. Their first record, "Hand of the Torch", was a concoction of Jazz and Hip Hop. songs like "Cantaloop (Flip flop)" and "Tukka Yoot's Riddim" became hallmarks of US3's quality. The stuff they did after that followed the same scheme of things. This can be clearly seen on "I showed a caveman how to rock"; the Be Bop / Funky-ish track they recorded for Spielberg's The Flintstones. Even though the Wilkinson/Simpson pairing flirted with some darker rhythms on their second record, the real change has come about on this, their latest release.

An ordinary day in an unusual place
"Happy shall be he who expects nothing, for he shall not suffer". Finding a phrase like that on an inner sleeve might seem surprising, but once you've heard the record you'll see it makes sense. US3 have come up with something different. Different and brilliant. You won't find many songs of the type you've become used to hearing from the band on this record. "You can't hold me down" is the single they've chosen to promote the release of "An ordinary day in an unusual place", and though you may find the customary brass section, what was hitherto un- associated with the band, Asian-beat, makes its presence felt with the use of sitar. It seems they've got their hands on Blue Note's classic jazz releases of work by Talvin Sign and Indian Ropeman.
Alison Crockett signs in with the vocals. Her powerful throat can be heard on most of the songs on the record. If the new Bond film was set in Habana, "Let my dreams come true" would be a must for the soundtrack: Shirley Bassey and mojitos. She also sings on the powerful excellent jungle tracks "Sugar sugar (She she wah wah)", "Pay attention" and "Get out". But there's more on show: the Indian touch we mentioned earlier is developed on in "India" with the help of Swati Naketar, barefoot blues on "Shady people" and the jazz/hip hop we've always known US 3 for on "Why" just in case we forget whose record this actually is. All of this, however, is just a mere guideline to try and describe what is one of the best releases out at the moment. It's as good as the records released by Up Bustle & Out or Red Snaper last year. Now that's saying something!