Friday, June 06, 2008

Verve Remixed

Imagine you're a world renowned record label. You've been around for over 50 years and most of the great jazz musicians have come through your doors to record with you at some point in their career. But since your heyday in the late 50's and 60's, you've been passed from company to company, and it seems that you're destined for the old folks home and to fade into obscurity in relation to the newest generation of music listeners. The problem is posed: how to rejuvenate yourself and find some relevancy with today's culture, to convince new ears to listen to old music. The answer: open your musical vaults to contemporary electronic music producers and DJs (folks like Diplo, the Cinematic Orchestra, Antibalas, and others) to breathe new life into classic tracks and make them new again. And it works.

That's what Verve Records has done with their Remixed series which they started in 2002. The latest volume, volume 4, continues with twelve tracks from names possibly still familiar with newer ears (James Brown, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald) as well as some from artists who undeservedly time has not been so kind to (Dinah Washington, Marlena Shaw, Astrud Gilberto, Roy Ayers, Willie Bobo - whose original version of Evil Ways, the song that helped launch Santana's career, you'll find here). There is some incredible music here. Timeless music. Music that really deserves not to be lost. In fact, the tracks that I most enjoy on the album are the ones that are from the artists I'm least familiar with.

I'll be honest with you, this album has been in my car for the last two weeks, and it rarely has left my CD player (and if it has, it's promptly gone back in). Check out the following two tracks from the album along with the original versions to get a feel for how these tracks are getting updated without losing their original flavor. Consequently, Verve also offers an Unmixed companion series that offers the original versions of the songs that appear on the Remixed discs.

Marlena Shaw - California Soul (Diplo/Mad Decent Remix) : Verve Remixed 4

Marlena Shaw - California Soul : The Spice of Life

Astrud Gilberto - Bim Bom (Psapp Remix) : Verve Remixed 4

Joao Y Astrud Gilberto With Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz - Bim Bom (live)
: Samba E Bossa Nova

Visit the Verve Website.

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