Vocalists Tracey Moore and Mercedes Martinez make up Jazzyfatnastees. In 1993, they were part of a vocal quartet that had landed a deal with Tommy Boy. But by 1995, the deal had fallen through. After drifting for a few years, Moore and Martinez found themselves in Philadelphia, their quartet reduced to a duo by departures. The two had known the guys in the Roots for a few years, having opened shows for them in the past. For their debut album as Jazzyfatnastees, Moore and Martinez signed with Motive Records, the Roots' imprint at MCA. The Once and Future, their self-written and -produced debut album, arrived in 1999. Filled with sunny harmonies and laid-back grooves, the album was ahead of its time, or at least ahead of the neo-soul movement, which would peak a few years later with the arrival of songbirds like Macy Gray and India.Arie. Nevertheless, the Jazzys persevered. They founded Black Lily, a showcase for artists of the very non-categories -- neo-funk and -soul, organic hip-hop -- in which they found themselves. They also began work on their sophomore effort, which arrived in September of 2002. The Tortoise & the Hare, released through the duo's new deal with Coolhunter/Ryko distribution, continued to hone Moore and Martinez's soulful, modern, and definitely groovy sound. With the rest of the music world having caught up to their sound, Jazzyfatnastees planned a third album for 2003. ~ Johnny Loftus
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