The Luxembourg jazz group Garlicks gives a modern spin on the standard jazz repertoire. The name of their 1991 debut release, Mutant Standards,
may sound far-fetched—yet it is actually appropriately titled. Familiar jazz standards are recomposed into contemporary creations that are strange yet easily identifiable. But what sets this recording apart from others is exceptional musicianship and respect for the source material.
The recording features seven vocal and two instrumental pieces covering a range of standards, such as “Someday My Prince Will Come” and “Stella By Starlight.” From an instrumental standpoint it’s clear to hear the quintet's tight musicianship and the inclusion of singer Sascha Ley is just icing on the cake, as her voice is a perfect match for the group’s creative interpretations.
Things start off with the melancholic mood of Thelonious Monk’s classic “Round Midnight” as Ley soothingly purrs as the band supports with a bluesy and hip melody. The echoing cry of the guitar and the jungle-like syncopation of the drums quickly inform the listener that things are a little different in this neck of the woods. Classics like John Coltane’s “Impressions” are hardly recognizable as they are reinvented with danceable and funky backdrops.
By using different arrangements and odd stylizations, the band easily deals with covers such as “My Funny Valentine,” which also includes a string section to enhance the mood. The contemporary “Freedom Jazz Dance” is performed with an Afro-centric flavor that gives light to the band’s musicianship. A 1999 live recording of “You Don’t Know What Love Is” bookends the recording and shows the group’s musical penchant for things cool and unusual.
Visit Garlicks on the web.
Personnel: Jitz Jeitz - saxophone, clarinet; Georges Urwald - piano, Fender Rhodes;
John Schlammes - bass; Alain Lenners - drums; Sascha Ley - vocals;
Claude Pauly - guitars