Heavy axe

Any self-respecting crate-digger knows how often the music of producer and arranger David Axelrod has been sampled, from Shadow's "Midnight in a Perfect World" to Mos Def's "Hip Hop" and Dr. Dre's "Next Episode." While his albums have been widely reissued, no release puts as much essential Axelrod in one place as The Edge: David Axelrod at Capitol Records 1966-1970, a new Blue Note compilation curated by Eothen "Egon" Alapatt from Stones Throw. The comp's title track -- performed, remarkably, by the actor David McCallum -- captures Axelrod's signature sound:

David McCallum - "The Edge"

Also worth a search is the solid and relatively slept-on Axelrod album that Mo'Wax released in 2001, after DJ Shadow and others persuaded Axelrod to return to work on some incomplete tracks originally laid down in 1968. This song eventually was named in honor of Dre and Diamond D, two producers who along with Shadow sparked the resurgence of interest in Axelrod's music.

David Axelrod - "The Dr. and the Diamond"

(See also: Soul Sides has a recent post about The Edge.)