From Tone Magazine:
The Wilder Deitz Group is a frequently shifting entity—first it was a trio, then a quartet with guest players coming and going, and then came its current eight-piece lineup. Multi-instrumentalist Deitz and his bandmates take that fluidity a step further on a recent release simply called Summer Mixtape 2017. Not only does the release incorporate several guest singers and MCs in addition to in-band vocalists Deja Mason and Nikeya Bramlett, it also takes several different approaches to the intersection of jazz, hip-hop, funk, and gospel.
On "L'Ouverture/Melody for Toussaint," that means bright piano chords and a festive synth melody combining over half-breakbeat, half-New Orleans rhythms. On "Wilmington '98," titled after the Wilmington, North Carolina insurrection of 1898, that means vocal jazz that swings between mournful and defiant. On "Long Island City," produced and composed by synth player Alex Charland, it means an atmospheric instrumental that draws as much on trip-hop as it does on jazz.
"We were already sort of headed in this direction, and I thought it would be an excellent chance to start incorporating some new techniques like sampling," says Deitz, who plays piano, synth, bass, and guitar on the record. The group funded the project with a grant from the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium, and because the grant was aimed at exposing new audiences to jazz, the group decided to make some tracks that would appeal to people who'd listened to a lot of jazz but not much hip-hop, and some tracks that would appeal to the reverse.
One track aimed squarely at the hip-hop-deprived jazz listener is "Father Bean," which rides on a silky jazz-vocal hook, an old-school hip-hop rhythm, and exuberantly meandering piano leads. Madison rapper Protege The Pro turns in probably the album's most charming verse here, with wordplay that jumps around as much as the piano: "Believe that we can fly, just be yourself but then the eagle version / they know I'm doing good, chillin' like an evil person."