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Moodymann, aka Detroit's Kenny Dixon, Jr., has been both celebrated and castigated for his refusal to play the music-industry game -- good luck finding an interview with him -- and also for his insistence upon house and techno's essentially African-American character. (Given that electronic dance music's black American pioneers have often gone under-recognized, his polemics are understandable.) But politics falls by the wayside in Moodymann's music, which fuses the grinding, machinic rhythms of Chicago house and Detroit techno with suppler, more sensual sounds culled from jazz, disco and soul. Albums like Mahogany Brown and Forevernevermore prove Dixon to be a master arranger with an ear especially attuned to the nuances of crackly vinyl and bluesy drift, while epic cuts like "Shades of Jae" are rightly recognized worldwide as classic anthems capable of uniting all comers under their yearning, searching grooves.
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