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Album Review

Various Artists: Blue Note Re:imagined II


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The second instalment of Blue Note Re:imagined comprises sixteen revamps of tunes from the label's back catalogue, newly recorded by a cohort of rising British soul, R&B and, listed last here for a reason, jazz stars. On its own terms, it is a classy exercise, but the target market for this series is not traditional Blue Note enthusiasts, weaned on hard bop and its experimentalist sub-strands. Like its predecessor, it is hard to imagine Blue Note Re:imagined II leaving much of that listenership anything other than uncomprehending and unmoved. Instead, the mostly with-vocals album seems aimed at between-bouts post-coital couples with no particular interest in jazz. Nothing wrong with that, and it is a healthier post-coital option than a cigarette. But is it jazz? Only infrequently.

From a jazz perspective, there are four tracks of interest, one each from trumpeter Yazz Ahmed, tenor saxophonist Binker Golding, bassist Daniel Casimir and tuba player Theon Cross. Each of these leaders keeps within the series brief to chill out, but each of them also presents cerebrally engaging and emotionally layered music, with Golding and Cross going far enough off message to frighten the horses, nervous ones anyway. Cross's at times ferocious tuba and drums reinvention of Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy" gets the cigar by a short neck. It would be fun to be a fly on the heavenly wall the first time Monk hears Cross's version. The smart money says he will love it madly. But we cannot know for sure. Golding's reading of Joe Lovano's "Forth Worth," featuring the spectacularly gifted pianist Sarah Tandy, is almost as memorable.

Blue Note Re:imagined II obliges one reluctantly to concede that there might, just might, be a reason to use such barbarisms as Spotify after all (but let us not be hasty about that).

Track Listing

Yazz Ahmed: It; Conor Albert: You Make Me Feel So Good; Parthenope: Don’t Know Why; Swindle: Miss Kane; Nubiyan Twist: Through The Noise (Chant No.2); Ego Ella May: The Morning Side Of Love; Oscar Jerome & Oscar #Worldpeace: (Why You So) Green With Envy; Daniel Casimir ft. Ria Moran: Lost; Theon Cross: Epistrophy; Maya Delilah: Harvest Moon; Kay Young: Feel Like Making Love; Venna & Marco Bernardis: Where Are We Going; Reuben James: Infant Eyes; Binker Golding: Fort Worth; Cherise: Sunrise; Franc Moody: Cristo Redentor.

Album information

Title: Blue Note Re:imagined II | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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