The problem with remixesand electronic music in generalis repetition. More often than not, a particular song may have so much going on, especially if it's jazz, that artists who attempt remixes stick with a minimalist approach that ends up rehashing the same beats, the same phrases, and the same samples to the end.
Impulsive!, for the most part, is no exception. Despite its all-star lineupon both sides of the boardmany of the songs lose their hook halfway through. The worst offender is the Sa-Ra remix of George Russell's "A Helluva Town," which opens the album. While it's not unlistenable, its repetition ultimately works against it. The concept is there, and it's well-done, but after hearing that New York is a helluva town ad nauseum, the concept wears thin.
As expected, however, Prefuse 73's remix of Gabor Szabo's "Mizrab" is exceptional. Scott Herren employs his typical blips and beats and crafts a brilliant recreation of Szabo's guitar-based melodies. Similarly, Kid Koala's remix of Yusef Lateef's "Bamboo Flute Blues" shows the DJ in restraint mode, letting Lateef's song shine through with subtle and minimal manipulation. These tracks, along with Boozoo Bajou's nu-jazz retelling of Pharaoh Sanders' "Astral Traveling" (which pays homage to the original without overdoing it), Telefon Tel-Aviv's dreamy, beautiful remix of Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments," and Charles Mingus' "II B.S.," remixed by Wu Tang's Rza, make the album great.
Impulsive! closes with "At Night," a poem written by John Coltrane with music composed by his son, Ravi Coltrane. The track's more traditional jazz leaningsalong with an impressive performance by Julie Pattonmakes it an anomaly among the more "remixed" and "reworked" classics on the rest of the album, but its mellow bass and subtle groove provide a fitting ending to the compilation's overall variety.
George Russell: Helluva Town (SA-RA "GO" Remix); Charles Mingus: II B.S. (RZA's Mingus
Bounce Mix); Chico Hamilton: El Toro (Mark de Clive-Lowe Remix); Gabor Szabo: Mizrab
(Prefuse 73 Remix); Dizzy Gillespie: Wing Low, Sweet Cadillac (Gerardo Frisina Remix);
Clark Terry & Chico O'Farrill: Spanish Rice (DJ Dolores Remix); Archie Shepp: Attica Blues
(The Chief Xcel of Blackalicious Remix); Pharoah Sanders: Astral Traveling (Boozoo Bajou
Remix); Yusef Lateef: Bamboo Flute Blues (Kid Koala Remix); Oliver Nelson: Stolen
Moments (Telefon Tel-Aviv Remix); John Coltrane: At Night (A Poem Featuring Ravi
Coltrane w/Julie Patton).
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