Holiday Music Roundup Part 3: Remixes

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.

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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.

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Catch up on the other holiday recordings I’ve posted about this season. Click the ‘christmas’ tag link in the byline.

Verve Remixed 3

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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Review: Verve//Remixed 2

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.