Various Artists: Stone Jazz (2003)
When you really think about it, Mulgrew Miller sort of looks like Keith Richards. Take out the Grecian Formula and Lenny White might be Charlie Watts. Charles Fambrough may be from Philadelphia, but with a little work, I see Bill Wyman. Stone Jazz proves that when rockers age enough, even jazz cats like to imitate them. This collection is 48 minutes of almost dysfunctional retro. If you didn’t know this music from the rebellious 1960s, though, you’d love the jazz.
We could scarcely find a more popular jazz set of rock classics. “Satisfaction” rambles with the trio environment of piano wanderings beautifully delivered by this record’s producer and pianist, Mark Kramer. Scarcely have we considered “Ruby Tuesday” to be a musical dessert, until now. Before you dig out the brass knuckles for a repatriation of “Paint It Black,” consider ordering the pasta and nodding to this expert jazz version.
Hey, if Miles can cover Cyndi Lauper, Stone Jazz has equal right to trap the Rolling Stones in the net of jazz.
All kidding included, the boys pulled out the stops on the arrangements of these tracks. Lots of far-ranging piano work, cool rhythm grooves, bass solo breaks within four minutes – this record has a little bit of everything. Unconfirmed reports are that George Colligan left the piano bench to swagger like Jagger during his frenetic rendition of “Under My Thumb.” All About Jazz is trying to confirm the report with a hard copy of Colligan sticking out his tongue.
Jazz dudes do this type of thing all the time, but they do not often collect some of rock’s greatest anthems this way. In that respect, Stone Jazz is a distinctly ambitious venture. The truth is: if you didn’t know the legendary names of these tracks, you’d think conversation was being enhanced by some wonderful lounge jazz beautifully played.
This compact disc is the ultimate crossover but these charts scarcely resemble our memories of the originals. How could they? This is jazz. That was rock history.
Track Listing: Miss You; Satisfaction; Ruby Tuesday; This Could Be the Last Time; Jumpin
Personnel: Charles Fambrough (bass); Mark Kramer (piano); Mulgrew Miller (piano, tracks 4 and 10); George Colligan (piano, tracks 5, 7, 8 and 9); Lenny White (drums); Steve Johns (drums, track 4); Ralph Peterson, Jr. (drums, track 5); Edgardo Clinton (percussion, tracks 1, 3, 8 and 10).
Record Label: Lightyear Entertainment