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Ohisashiburi: Reimagining The Beatles

Chris May By

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Ohisashiburi: Reimagining The Beatles
One might imagine that making an album of Lennon & McCartney covers is as easy as falling off the proverbial log. Not so. For starters, even if the listener has never bought a Beatles record in his or her life, they will have heard the songs countless times and boredom may have set in. More than that, singular as the Beatles' original material is when set against run-of-the-mill 1960s pop music, it is, when push comes to shove, still pop music—that is to say, built on entry-level harmonic foundations and accessible to a fault. Separated from the four lovable moptops who first recorded it, Lennon & McCartney's oeuvre often dies a little.

Ohisashburi pull it off though. British pianist Jonathan Gee and his three Italian collaborators have made an album which has a jazz, rather than an unplugged-pop sensibility and which sheds new light on five well-worn ballads—"Blackbird," "Here There And Everywhere," "Michelle," "And I Love Her" and "Across The Universe"—and one rocker, "Come Together." The other three tracks are originals, two by Gee, and one by alto saxophonist Gaetano Partipilo. The group's treatment is not so much a full-on reimagining as a tweaking of melodic lines and phrasings, with the exception of "Come Together," which is more radically, if briefly, reconstructed. Average track playing time is around six minutes, with most of the solos coming from Gee and Partipilo, though bassist Giuseppe Bassi takes two memorable turns in the spotlight.

All of that said, the most satisfying tracks on the album are Gee and Partipilo's originals. Gee, a leading face on the British scene since the early 1990s, and Partipilo, a melodically inclined stylist with a delicate touch, illuminate their three tracks as both composers and improvisers. More please.

P.S. Reimagining The Beatles was recorded in Italy in autumn 2019 and was mixed and mastered by maestro Tommy Cavalieri in Bari, on the heel of the Italian boot, at his Sorriso Studios. Cavalieri and Sorriso are the first-call engineer and studio team of acid-jazz standard-bearer and Bari homeboy Nicola Conte, beloved of this parish.

Track Listing

Blackbird; Here There And Everywhere; Starfish; Michelle; Luminescence; And I Love Her; Silver; Come Together; Across The Universe.

Personnel

Gaetano Partipilo: saxophone, alto; Jonathan Gee: piano; Giuseppe Bassi: bass, acoustic; Fabio Accardi: drums.

Album information

Title: Reimagining The Beatles | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Verte

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