I’ve been a fan of jazz remixes since I first heard the original Verve//Remixed. I guess it was a fad. I don’t see many anymore. I thought it was a good way to introduce younger generations to some classic jazz. However, some remixers completely destroyed any jazz element of some of the songs I heard.
This season, there are two remix projects for the holidays. When the first Verve//Remixed came out, I contacted Verve and said, with their vault, Christmas music would be ideal for a remix project. I didn’t think it could go wrong. Oops. Verve//Remixed Christmas is out now. From the samples I heard – it was not to my liking. It’s got the usual Verve roster that gets remixed – Nina Simone, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and so on. Coal in the stockings for some of these remixers – there is no holiday spirit to be found on this collection.
If your taste is really into electronica, you’ll enjoy Christmas Regrooved 2. It’s hit and miss for me. Misses are most of the covers of classic carols. I love jazz-influenced electronic music but I’m missing the jazz feel here. Still, there may be something of interest. A jazz sound isn’t a goal of this compilation so I can’t judge it as such.
I’m always seeking fresh sounds that keep my attention. Bodega has my ear. The band cites influences ranging from Herbie Hancock, Fela Kuti, Weather Report, Talking Heads, Stereolab, Kurt Rosenwinkel, MMW, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, livetronica and beyond. Ropeadope’s site says “Bodega has always blended elements of funk, philly soul, jazz, breakbeat, and afrobeat to make their infectious grooves.” Those infectious grooves are in full force on their new recording Bounce! Bodega had a goal of capturing the live experience with Bounce! “The People have a craving for live music, music created in the moment, music created by the musicians from audience inspiration, music in which they are a part of the creation and experience, REAL music,” the band says. “Bounce! is our vision to unite those people, whether they are hip hop heads, beat freaks, jazz heads, ravers, old heads, rockers, festival travelers, and music lovers of every shape and background.”
Here’s a live clip of Bodega playing the composition that I’m downloading from Amazon right now, “Smirk.” Learn more about Bodega on their MySpace page.
Jack Frost and the Christmas Band reached out to me on MySpace. Ivan Valles in the group sent me a couple of MP3s to share with you. If you like what you hear, click the shopping cart button on the player to buy all of the Christmas songs from the band.
Airborne, the “musical peacemakers of contemporary jazz,” want to share the Christmas love too. They recorded four songs for you to download for free at their site. You can also listen to samples of their new recording, Winds of Change.
I began looking up the various jazz seasonal recordings when I first learned about the new Christmas recording from Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. I’ve gotten a good number and am breaking them into separate posts. Here are some of the singers who have new holiday recordings out this year.
Al Jarreau – Christmas. An all-new recording on Rhino. From the Rhino site: “Album highlights include Jarreau’s instantly classic takes on beloved tunes including “The Christmas Song,” “Winter Wonderland,” “White Christmas” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Cherished Christmas traditions further come alive with his inspired versions of “Come All Ye Faithful,” “Carol Of The Bells,” “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “Gloria In Excelsis,” a sacred song used in the Roman Catholic Mass.” Buy the CD / DRM-free MP3s at Amazon Download it from iTunes
Singer Erin Bode has a new Christmas-themed release out titled It’s called A Cold December Night. The only information on it so far comes from the great St. Louis Jazz Notes, which says it’s due in November.
Bob James & Hilary James – Christmas Eyes. I don’t know anything about this other than it’s Bob and his daughter, singer Hilary James, in a Christmas recording produced by Kevin DiSimone (Hilary’s hubby). From the track list, it looks like a mix of familiar carols and original songs. Buy the CD at Amazon
Harry Connick, Jr. has recorded a third holiday collection – What A Night! A Christmas Album Buy the CD at Amazon
MTV is playing videos again! Online, at least at their newly launched mtvmusic.com. I checked it out and – whoa – there are over 100 videos in the jazz category. I wasn’t even expecting a jazz category. There are a lot of Kenny G and Norah Jones videos but also a number of 80s Warner Bros. videos from the likes of Al Jarreau, Bob James, David Sanborn, Michael Franks, George Benson, Quincy Jones, and Miles Davis. Seeing some of these again is kind of a kick. I bet you’ll find some surprises too.