SHAOLIN JAZZ - The 37th Chamber

SHAOLIN JAZZ – The 37th Chamber, the brainchild of Gerald Watson... and DJ 2-Tone Jones, is a specialty mixtape project that has 2-Tone artfully blending the acapellas of rappers from the Wu-Tang Clan with hand picked jazz instrumentals.

The project is an extension of Watson’s The Classics Album Cover Art Exhibitions which were a series of art shows, 2-Tone both deejayed and produced the mixtapes for, that featured various album covers from target genres of music such as rap, rock, soul, and jazz.

Watson developed the idea for SHAOLIN JAZZ while interviewing Logan Walters, a graphic designer who created a series of jazz inspired Wu-Tang album covers called Wu-Note. During the interview Watson created a line of questioning which led to Walters mentioning that he would be interested in designing the album cover art if a project like it ever existed. Watson then approached 2-Tone who was interested. He then circled back to Logan who of course was already down and SHAOLIN JAZZ was born.

Musically and visually, SHAOLIN JAZZ embodies a unique mix of details. 2-Tone, a seasoned DJ, steps into the role of producer by crafting the right jazz instrumentals with the right vocals, cutting and mixing sounds and effects to create the right “feel” where needed, and even sampling and chopping up jazz tracks to create beats which have had many of the DC’s areas most critically acclaimed beat-smiths, such as Oddisee, Roddy Rod, and SlimKat, giving 2-Tone the thumbs up.

Visually, Walters, who created his own niche with his Wu-Note jazz album covers, was able to graphically interpret the visual identity of SHAOLIN JAZZ without hearing a single track, which is not his normal process. The vintage treatments and color palette, the subtle yet oversized characters, and attention to typography gives the album cover a texture and traditional pureness that is Logan’s signature which, in an indirect way, also pays homage to Reid Miles – the iconic album cover designer from Blue Note Records and a major influence of Logan’s.

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