Various – Verve Remixed3

This album, the third in the Verve remix series, is an interesting collection of reworkings of classic jazz tracks. The series takes cuts from the Verve archives and pairs them with top remixers, including Brazilian Girls, Sugardaddy, Adam Freeland, Danger Mouse and Carl Craig.

Verve has one of the strongest collections of work by great jazz artists, so there is a certain amount of risk in a remix project like this. How would you like to take on the job of turning a Billie Holiday or Sarah Vaughan jazz classic into danceable electronica?

Anytime you rework a classic track, there’s a risk of pulling a Kenny G. Kenny G earned the ire of jazz fans by taking Louis Armstrong’s classic track, What a Wonderful World, and overdubbing smooth-jazz sax noodlings on it.

On the other hand, a strong remix, like the Jxl take on Elvis’ A Little Less Conversation, can reincarnate a track, breathing new life into it and opening up classic work to a new generation of listeners.

Fortunately, Verve has brought in some top talent for this collection. The resulting tracks on Verve Remixed 3 showcase some hot remixers and highlight the work of some jazz greats. The remixes should turn a lot of listeners on to some classic artists, without turning off too many purists.

Things get off to a shaky start with Little Girl Blue, remixed by Postal Service. Bent quickly gets things onto the right track, though, with their version of Billie Holiday’s take on Speak Low. The reworking shows a lot of respect for Holiday’s original performance, yet transforms it into something contemporary audiences can easily relate to.

Highlights of the CD include Adam Freeland’s remix of Sarah Vaughan’s Fever. The big beat percussion and funky effects work well with Vaughan’s up-front singing, a little like the Shirley Bassey/Propellerhead collaboration History Repeating. The Brazilian Girls’ reworking of Blossom Dearie’s Just One of Those Things gives it a danceable edge. If you’re a jazz purist, you may want to Unpack Your Adjectives on this remix, but the rest of us will be busy dancing.

RJD2 gives Astrud Gilberto a makeover with The Gentle Rain, giving it a modern Brazilian/hip-hop vibe. Just as fun is the sassy brassy Sarah Vaughan Peter Gunn. The familiar tune comes to life in the Max Sedgley remix. If you’re not familiar with the clever lyrics for Peter Gunn, hearing Vaughan belt out “Couldn’t count on all my fingers, all the dates you had with swingers…” will make you want to check out the retro-cool original.

Verve has also released a matching collection of the source tracks. For remix fans, this pair may be the treat of the year.

Tracks:

  • Little Girl Blue [Postal Service Remix] – Nina Simone
  • Speak Low [Bent Remix] – Billie Holiday
  • Sing, Sing, Sing [RSL Remix] – Anita O’Day
  • Fever [Adam Freeland Remix] – Sarah Vaughan
  • Come Dance With Me [Sugardaddy Remix Tom Findlay and Tim Hutton] – Shirley Horn
  • Just One of Those Things [Brazilian Girls Remix] – Blossom Dearie
  • Gentle Rain [RJD2 Remix] – Astrud Gilberto
  • Peter Gunn [Max Sedgley Remix] – Sarah Vaughan
  • Stay Loose {Lyrics Born Remix]
  • Boy’s Doin’ It [Carl Craig Remix] – Hugh Masekela
  • Lilac Wine [the Album Leaf Remix] – Nina Simone
  • Yesterdays [Junior Boys Remix] – Billie Holiday
  • Baby, Did You Hear? [Danger Mouse Remix] – Dinah Washington

Leave a Reply