January sees the U.S. release of More Tales Remixed, the remix compilation of songs from Bluey’s last studio recording, Tales from the Beach. Russell Myrie interviewed Bluey for The Voice earlier in 2008 and noted that 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the first Incognito release. Jazz Funk. He also perhaps got a peek at what’s next:
“I’ve worked with Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo, I played on Earth, Wind and Fire’s album, I’ve worked with George Benson, Chaka Khan. People who I used to dream about only getting a ticket for their gig really at one point in my life. Then there are the DJs like Roger Sanchez and Morales. I would love to make a record with all of these people.”
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Billie Holiday is receiving a good amount of press as she would have celebrated her 90th birthday this month. Among other things, she?s on the cover of the May issue of JazzTimes and an acclaimed 2-CD+DVD retrospective has been released. Nnenna Freelon is releasing a tribute to Lady Day this fall, which I’m looking forward to.
Another release I was eager for was Remixed Hits, which features 12 tracks of Holiday’s popular recordings remixed by three established DJs. You’ll hear two different remixes of “Strange Fruit” and “God Bless the Child.” One of the versions of the latter closes the disc and I can pretty safely say you’ve never heard the song like this before. Many of the mixes are soulless, canned productions that lack any type of innovation or attention to the source material. However, you’ll actually hear some jazziness on the Lucky mix of “Loverman.” If you’re a fan of electronic music, you’ll want to sample this. If you’re a jazz fan, your curiosity might be aroused so check out some samples. I couldn’t find any online but I’m playing selections from it on TomorrowJazz Radio. Remixed Hits is available now on Cleopatra or Hypnotic Records at a reasonable retail price.
Verve Remixed 3 came out yesterday. It sounds noticeably different from the first two. While the previous two had great diversity in the ways songs were remixed (often I would love or hate a remix), this one sounds more homogenized. There won?t be a major shock going from track to track. (which are almost all vocals). The majority of Verve Remixed 3 is electronic, literally – it sounds robotic. Given the catalog from which songs were obtained, it’s hard to believe that these songs could be so lacking in any jazziness. It’s missing flavor. There are some fun tracks like Sarah Vaughan’s “Fever” (remixed by Adam Freeland) and “Peter Gunn” (remixed by Max Sedgley). Overall, unlike the previous releases, none of the DJs made an initial impression on me.
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We’ve heard jazz classics from the Verve and Blue Note catalogs remixed and reworked. Now it’s Bird’s turn. On October 21, Savoy Records will release Bird Up: The Charlie Parker Remix Project. Dan the Automator, Me’shell Ndegeocello, Hal Willner, Rob Swift, and Serj Tankian (from System of a Down) are among the artists transforming some of Parker’s music. You won’t believe Serj’s reconstruction of “Bird of Paradise (Gone)”. Willner, Mocean Worker, the Kronos Quartet, and Dr. John collaborate on “Salt Peanuts (The Mr. Peanut Chronicles)”. Hubert Laws contributes to two tracks, including “Conga Blues” which also features the diverse talents of Ravi Coltrane, Wild Children, and Kodo. There’s also a lot of names I haven’t seen before, but I’m anxious to hear them. You can hear lengthy versions of some tracks (including the aforementioned “Bird of Paradise (Gone)” at Savoy’s site. Looking forward to this…
Verve has released the second in what I hope will be many more volumes of its Remixed series. Verve//Remixed 2 effectively modernizes music from the Verve catalog that may already be labeled as timeless. As on the first volume, Verve has some of the most notable DJs on the scene contributing. Grammy-nominated Felix da Housecat was named Best DJ by URB and Spin. Felix offers one of two remixed songs on this collection by the recently deceased Nina Simone – the Heavenly House mix of “Sinnerman”. Funky Lowlives kick another notch up on a live performance of Dizzy Gillespie’s famous “Manteca”. You’ve never heard an Ella Fitzgerald song like the cool and danceable Miguel Migs Petalpusher Remix of “Slap That Bass”. Mr. Scruff delivers an organic and very soulful remix of Ramsey Lewis’s “Do What You Wanna”. It’s properly titled the Soul Party mix and it guarantees a good time. Fila Brazillia ramps up Cal Tjader’s familiar “Soul Sauce”. Swedish duo Koop offers a sunny, light, and lovely version of Astrud Gilberto’s “Here’s That Rainy Day”. There are also remixes of songs originally recorded by Hugh Masekela, Betty Carter, Archie Shepp, Willie Bobo, Sarah Vaughn, and Oscar Brown, Jr.
Verve Remixed 2 offers a solid selection of different types of mixes. There are remixes that can be easily identified as the artist’s music (such as Herbert’s rendition of Oscar Brown, Jr.’s “Brother Where Are You?” There are also remixes where I thought the music was a completely new 21st century recording (Mondo Grosso’s get-your-butt-on-the-dance-floor Next Wave Mix of Archie Shepp’s “Blues For Brother George Jackson”). The variety makes the recording a good listen.
Learn more about the music and mixers at the Verve Remixed site.