Any DJ worth his/her salt has a keen sense of what the crowd wants and needs to hear. It’s not just about picking good songs or curating a good mix, it requires a symbiotic relationship to the music, and ultimately, the trust of your audience. This particular skill set can’t be honed overnight, it develops over time. With a partnership that spans three decades, venerated New York DJs Adrian Bartos (aka Stretch Armstrong“) and Bobbito Garcia have not only put in the work, they’ve perfected the art. Now ready to venture into uncharted waters, the iconic duo steps from behind the crates and takes center stage with an album of their own, cleverly titled No Requests.
The 10-track Stretch And Bobbito project is an amalgam of cover songs, inspired by their own collection of albums. Although they’re DJ’s first and foremost, you won’t find any samples here. Instead, the twosome hand-picked an ensemble of musicians and dubbed them The M19s Band – an homage to the Manhattan crosstown bus of their youth that connected the Upper East Side to the Upper West Side. The symbolism carries through to the music, crossing genres, reworking and infusing classic songs with Afrobeat, hip-hop, Latin, reggae, samba, jazz and plenty of soul.
Included among the incredible set are unexpected reinterpretations of songs by The Maytals (“Festival Song (Bam Bam)”), The Police (“Voices Inside My Head”), Babe Ruth (“The Mexican”), Womack & Womack (“Baby I’m Scared of You”) and The Clash (“Magnificent Dance”). We’re loving the update on these classic tunes, but we have to bestow “Bounce-Worthy” status on two songs in particular: the stellar renditions of Chaka Khan‘s “I Know You, I Live You” and Stevie Wonder’s “If You Really Love Me,” both exquisitely slayed by soul sista Maimouna Youssef. It can be a daunting task to deliver and worthwhile spin on the music of a legendary artist, but Mumu Fresh manages to do so with verve and grace, preserving the integrity of the originals while taking bold risks to make them sound like something new.
No Requests also features the vocal talents of Mireya Ramos (of the phenomenal all-woman mariachi band, Flor de Toloache), Rich Medina and José Parlá. Preview the stellar project right here, and download a copy via your digital retailer of choice. Turntablists and vinyl lovers can head to Stretch And Bobbito’s website for physical copies of the album.