Personnel: Richard Armstrong (trumpet); Kat Quano (keyboards).
To be honest, when electronica calls itself "jazz," it usually means "wimpy," or at best "smooth." Feh. But over the course of the Mushroom Jazz series, DJ Mark Farina has been proving that electronic dance music can be funky, swinging, classy, uplifting, and booty-motivating all at the same time. Those who have been subjected to endless hours of anonymous sax-plus-loops pablum in the chillout room may be gun-shy, but if they can force themselves to give this collection a chance they'll surely be happily surprised by such top-notch fare as Kero One's aptly titled "Groovin'" (notice how nicely the handclaps suddenly lift up the groove at the song's midpoint), J-Boogie's gently dubwise "Alive," Uneaq's cool and laid-back "Just Checkin'," and Colossus' "Transit," which features both excellent jazz flute and a nicely looped piano drop. There's also a very fine hip-hop excursion from Colossus featuring G-off & the Whooligan, and a strange, weirdly dissonant little number from the same artist titled "Dopebeatz" -- it's a strange and ultimately rather unsettling moment that stands out starkly from the feel-good grooves that typify the program. Overall, this is an exceptionally fine collection. ~ Rick Anderson