Various Artists: Verve//Remixed (2002)
This ambitious project throws the doors of the Verve vault wide open, to be raided by the cream of the crop electronic producers. The Verve Records catalog boasts a plethora of classic jazz vocalists, from Billie Holiday to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone and more. It almost sounds sacrilegious to allow such classics to be exhumed by a bunch of studio vampires and knob-twiddlers. But the results are thankfully impressive, demonstrating not only the producers’ affinity for the music, but the timeless quality of the vocalists. There’s a warm familiarity about most of the tracks, not only because we’ve heard the vocals before, but also because it demonstrates the source of vocal inspiration for many of today’s studio singers. Production-wise, those involved step up to the plate with class. MJ Cole laces Carmen McCrae’s classic "How Long Has This Been Going On?" with a light 2-step touch. Rae & Christian’s rework of "Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby?" is masterful. Dinah Washington’s haunting vocals float over a sturdy breakbeat, with rumbling horns. De-Phazz brilliantly deconstructs "Wait Till You See Him" into a smoky, downtempo soundscape that retains the sweetness of Ella Fitzgerald’s vocals. Dzihan & Kamien turn Billie Holiday’s "Don’t Explain" into bittersweet bliss, while Tricky takes Holiday’s "Strange Fruit" into the realms of his dark brilliance. Verve//Remixed is a unique compilation that reinvents jazz classics with a masterful touch to display the talent of both singer and producer. Well worth your pennies.
Track Listing: 1. Willie Bobo-Spanish Grease Dorfmeister con madrid de los Austrias muga reserva mix 7:25 2. Carmen McRae-How Long Has This Been Going On? MJ Cole remix 4:56 3. Astrud Gilberto-Who Needs Forever? Thievery Corporation remix 4:11 4. Dinah Washington-Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby? Rae & Christian remix 4:57 5. Nina Simone-Feelin' Good Joe Clausell remix 6:03 6. Shirley Horn-Return to Paradise Mark de Clive-Lowe remix 5:51 7. Ella Fitzgerald-Wait 'Till You See Him De-Phazz remix 3:51 8. Billie Holiday-Don't Explain dZihan & Kamien remix 4:48 9. Nina Simone-See-Line Woman Masters At Work remix10:04 10. Sarah Vaughan-Summertime UFO remix 6:49 11. Billie Holiday-Strange Fruit Tricky remix 3:18 12. Tony Scott-Hare Krishna King Britt funke mix 6:57