Us3 is the brainchild of London-based producer Geoff Wilkinson. Formed in 1992, alongside production partner Mel Simpson, the duo signed to Capitol/Blue Note Records with permission to sample anything and everything from the back catalogue of the most influential jazz label ever. The first single “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)” sliced up Herbie Hancock’s 1964 track “Cantaloupe Island” and quickly became a worldwide hit. The subsequent album “Hand on the Torch” was a global phenomenon, and sold over 2.5 million copies. It was the first Blue Note album to achieve Platinum status (1,000,000 sales) in the USA.
In 2011 Us3 are back with their 8th album “Lie, Cheat & Steal”, featuring NY based Puerto Rican rapper/spoken word artist Oveous Maximus, and acclaimed UK rapper (& MOBO Award winner) Akala. On the musical side Geoff employs some familiar Us3 faces in the shape of saxophonist Ed Jones & trumpet player Bryan Corbett, along with a dazzling array of London’s finest keyboard players. The turntable skills of DJ First Rate are also to the fore. Musically the album is a kaleidoscope of sounds moving effortlessly from latin & flamenco-inspired sounds to the funky afrobeat of “(You Are) So Corrupt” to the hard-hitting title track. Oveous showcases both his rap & poetry skills on the blues-inflected “Wild West” and Akala tells a modern day parable that relates to us all on the breakbeat-fuelled “Puppet Master”. In October 2011 the 8-piece live Us3 band will embark on a 19 date European Tour in promotion of the album.