London Jazz Four: Take a New Look at the Beatles (2005)
This Brit quartet made the songs of the Fab Four their own, taking a lot of risk in reinterpreting many timeless classics but also approaching lesser-known Lennon-McCartney tunes (sadly, there are no Harrison compositions on the album). The result is a collection of songs on this disc (originally released in 1967) that sound almost if they were completely new. For instance, "I Feel Fine receives a Bach-like harpsichord riff that repeats itself throughout the track, the rest of the instruments basically improvising around the song's original melody.
John Lennon's Dylan-esque "Rain gives a lot of space for vibes player Ron Forbes and pianist Mike McNaught alternately to showcase their visions on each song. Gone is the song's original dark feel, which is replaced by a slow, peaceful one. The early tune "Yes It Is is barely recognizable, featuring percussion, finger cymbals, and a triangle as backdrop for the piano, which sounds as if McNaught's fingers had a hard time moving over the keys, giving an otherwise simple song an eerie, almost ghostly feel.
The quartet swings through "Please Please Me and "Things We Said Today, but the latter has more of a Latin jazz sound with some Afro undertones. "A Hard Day's Night turns out to be one of the best tracks on the CD. The song morphs into a jazz waltz, which is an interesting development. Also pay close attention to the playfulness and simplicity of the musicians' take on "Yellow Submarine.
Track Listing: I Feel Fine; Paperback Writer; Rain; Michelle; Yes It Is; Please Please Me; Things We Said Today; From Me To You; A Hard day's Night; Ticket To Ride; Yellow Submarine.
Personnel: Len Clarke: drums; Ron Forbes: vibraphone; Mike McNaught: piano; Brian Moore: bass.