Billy Martin - Illy B Eats Box Set  
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written by Josh Potter    
DJ's, producers, beat-junkies, drum enthusiasts gather 'round. God thank you for these, thine gifts... Now, eat.

Take note: this compilation, culled from six years of recordings, is the last break-album you will ever need. Recorded at Scotty Hard's "Breaktorium," Medeski, Martin and Wood's Shacklyn Studio, and during MMW sound checks, illy B Eats box set is virtuoso drummer Billy Martin's complete breakbeat oeuvre. At the behest of DJ Logic, Martin released volume one of the illy B Eats series in 2000. Groove, Bang and Jive Around was a raw template of the percussion figures he'd been using in jazz, funk, Brazilian, and avant settings since the mid 80s. Engineered by Scotty Hard (Wu Tang, Prince Paul, Biz Markie, Dan the Automator), the idea was to share the idea. Beats for the people. The disc even came with an insert encouraging remixes. The results came in and Drop the Needle, fully remixed, followed in 2001. Volumes two and three followed suit in 2004 and 2006, feeding the likes of DJ Spooky, The Prophecy snowboard DVD, and a Japanese toilet bowl commercial.

Now here they are -- kick, hat, ride and snare -- stacked up like lunch meat in their cardboard sheath. From the spare and heavy block-rockers to squeaky-clean stoop shuffles, it's a complete set. While accessible and dance floor friendly, Martin doesn't dilute. Every beat has that little polyrhythmic lilt that has propelled Medeski, Martin and Wood for years, supportive yet generous.

Hip-hop for the jazz-savy? Jazz for hip-hop heads? It's not that easy. Listenership may be the set's only complication. A dyed-in-the-wool break album, MMW fans may find something to be desired -- namely Medeski and Wood. Tasty as the beats prove to be, a beat is a beginning, a raw idea. Consider the set a box of ideas. Now do with them what you may, and what you must.

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