label: Verve

includes: Nina Simone, BIllie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Shirley Horn, Blossom Dearie, Postal Service, RJD2, Lyrics Born, Danger Mouse, Carl Craig, Bent, others.

year of release: 2005
Nina Simone : Little Girl Blue (Postal Service Remix)
Billie Holiday : Speak Low (Bent Remix)
Anita O'Day : Sing, Sing, Sing (RSL Remix)
Sarah Vaughan : Fever (Adam Freeland Remix)
Shirley Horn : Come Dance With Me (Sugardaddy Remix); Tom Findlay (Groove Armada) and Tim Hutton
Blossom Dearie : Just One Of Those Things (Brazillian Girls Remix)
Astrud Gilberto : The Gentle Rain (RJD2 Remix)
Sarah Vaughan : Peter Gunn (Max Sedgley Remix)
Jimmy Smith : Stay Loose (Lyrics Born Remix)
Hugh Masekela : The Boy's Doin' It (Carl Craig Remix)
Nina Simone : Lilac Wine (The Album Leaf Remix)
12. Billie Holiday : Yesterdays (Junior Boys Remix)
13. Dinah Washington : Baby, Did You Hear? (Danger Mouse Remix)

Nina Simone : Lilac Wine (The Album Leaf Remix)

Rarely has a record look so damn good on paper. Seriously, look at the list of original artists and look at the list of people that remixed 'em: there's Billie Holiday, there's Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan, Shirlie Horn and a couple of others all you super jazz cats will know. And then look at the remixers: Postal Service, Bent, RJD2, Lyrics Born, Carl Craig, The Album Leaf and Danger Mouse, to just name a few. Excitement is appropriate.
And Bent are somewhat predestined to be on a record like this. Their superior, super incredible "The Everlasting Blink" Already did what they're supposed to do on here, namely take some voices, a melody and then do something with that. And just as always (and somewhat repeated in every review): remixes make extra sense if you know the original (and there's actually a double CD version of this out there with the originals on one and the remixes on another CD). If not, then "Speak Low" is a really sweet song, with a latin rhythm, plus orchestration and the vibrating singing by Billie, transporting here into a likely style she'd do in 200now. Thus Bent fulfil our great expectations full-fledged-ly.
However, others put even more of their own stamp on the songs, actually making the tunes much more their own, than something in the vein of the original. They transport the songs into the present and into their own preferred style of music. Case in point is Postal Service's reworking of Nina Simone's "Little Girl Blue" or how Adam Freeland turns Sarah Vaughan's "Fever" into a nice big house shaker. Actually this is somewhat of a weird pick, considering the million "Fever" versions there already are. Similarly to dance to, including incredible bongo band type percussion, is "Come Dance With Me" by Shirley Horn, as remixed by Tom Findlay of Groove Armada and Tim Hutton. This is some retro 80s, while the not that appealing Brazillian Girls Remix "Just One Of Those Things" by Blossom Dearie only stops minimally short before it being Techno music.
On the hip hop tip, RJD2 reworks "The Gentle Rain" by Astrud Gilberto. If this sounds somewhat familiar, then because the tune is kinda famous and there's certainly somewhere a rap song out there that has sampled this, or a break beat mixcd, that has used this song. As for RJD2's part: he makes the background rather hard to the very soft singing, creating a clash you'll either like or not. Plus he really sticks to his formula that becomes repetitive. Lyrics Born steps on the accelerator, taking "Stay Loose" by Jimmy Smith onto the fast lane (creating a serious banger), while Danger Mouse - i.e. the newest member of Gorillaz - redoes "Baby, Did You Hear?" He makes it a surprising un-rap cut with the choppy background, using the structures of bip hop and using an interesting way to fade in and out of the original music.
Further notable is Sarah Vaughan's "Peter Gunn" remixed by Max Sedgley and may it just be due to you knowing the original and the extra funky drum here. Carl Craig surprises with letting "The Boy's Doin' It" a lot of time to grow, breathe and develop, never raising much above minimalism. "Lilac Wine" is noteworthy, because The Album Leaf is not really an act you'd think of as a remixer. But Jimmy Lavalle does charm Nina Simone over his atmospheric backgrounds and structures, really re-inventing this original and forcing it to leave its past behind and embrace a whole new breathtaking vista.
You can argue how much there's still left of the original song. And if these people didn't actually do cover versions of the songs, using elements of old recordings. Well, maybe they are much more than just remixes. But that mainly shows that a lot of care, attention and effort went into the creation of these songs, finding their own personal mix or middle between the originals and the respective remixer's original genre (while middle is a little generous, considering this strongly leans towards the remixer's styles). However, the result is definitely exciting, what it exactly should be.
review: tadah
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