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Various Artists: Verve Remixed 4CD
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Producers: 9th Wonder; Antibalas; Chris Shaw; Cinematic Orchestra; Diplo; Karriem Riggins; Kenny Dope; Mike Mangini; Mocky; Pilooski; Psapp; Truth & Soul
SummaryOn 'Verve Remixed 4,' music's most respected and emulated Remix series once again breaks new ground. More soulful in both repertoire and musical direction, the new album enlists a cutting-edge arsenal of production contributors to re-imagine a luminous array of R&B, soul, latin and jazz standards and rare gems. This compelling rollout features funk, Afrobeat and transcultural tastemakers as well - the beat world's most influential accompanists pairing off with some of the most memorable and against-the-grain vocal performances ever. The most cohesive offering of the Verve Remix canon, 'Remixed 4' illuminates the depth and durability of the Verve legacy for generations to come.
"Cry Me A River" - Truth & Soul Remix - Dinah Washington
Fresh off the game-changing remix on the Amy Winehouse track "Love Is A Losing Game," Brooklyn Production engine Truth & Soul stretch the regal delivery of Dinah Washington and enrich her magical vocal style with a mix that is as complementary as it is mesmerizing. Culled from the Grammy Hall Of Famer's 1959 album What A Diff'erence A Day Makes, the track exemplifies the electrical charges metered out when understated accompaniment meets timeless enunciation.
"Gimmie Some" - Mike Mangini Remix - Nina Simone
Take one of the '60s and '70s most distinctive and courageous vocalists and park her next to one of the dance world's most unorthodox rhythm stylists and what do you get: A girl-group shape-shift that leaves you desiring whatever the sultry Simone can conjure up 'Come on over here and fill my cup' she wails on this riveting reinvention - Simone's penchant for off-the-grid-interpretation wrapped around Mangini's ebullient splicing. The acclaimed co-producer behind Joss Stone's The Soul Sessions and the much buzzed about neo-funk of Imani Coppola's Little Jackie (S-Curve) project breaks the mold for one of music's most transformative vocalist's whose original version appeared on 1965's I Put A Spell On You.
"There Was A Time" - Kenny Dope Remix - James Brown
At the height of his coronation as the music world's King of Funk, James Brown pivoted. The tireless star hooked up with drummer Louie Bellson and his 20-piece orchestra and dropped a depth charge on the Black music world with his turn-of-the-decade entry into the Big Band format with 1970's Soul On Top. A 2004 Verve reissue sparked renewed interest in Brown's eclectic renditions of jazz standards and JB staples. Masters At Work co-founder Kenny Dope Gonzalez energetically makes his own hay out of Brown's Big Band odyssey on a relentless rework of "There Was A Time" (previous soul ventures from Kenny include a production turn with soulstress Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, and Verve Remix 1's inaugural single - a Nina Simone classic refurbished by MAW). One other note of interest: In 2006, Brown recreated Soul On Top in its entirety a mere 3 months before he died, performing with an 18-piece band at the Hollywood Bowl with the 81 year old Bellson guest drumming. Yeah...there was a time!
"California Soul" - Diplo - Marlena Shaw
The first female vocalist signed to Blue Note Records, Marlena Shaw's knack for blending jazz, soul and pop nuggets led to her mastery of covers, from jazz standards with the Basie Orchestra to the Buckingham's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." No wonder she couldn't resist laying down a rippling version of the Ashford & Simpson-penned "California Soul." Introduced by the 5th Dimension as pristine pop/soul, Shaw's version primps at full throttle. Rediscovered by DJs on the recent Cadet/Verve reissue, who better than nomadic DJ Diplo to sonically fray the edges even more? Born in Mississippi, schooled in Philly, weaned on Brazilian Baile Funke by way of Rio Di Janeiro, his joyous breakdowns and zig-zag horn and keyboard sections make for feisty groovework while Marlena bridges styles on the 1968 album that introduced the original gem, The Spice Of Life.
"Take Care Of Business" - Pilooski Edit - Nina Simone
Nina back once again, but this time with Parisian dancefloor heist-king Pilooski. His unsolicited 'Dirty Edits' of Frankie Valli's "Beggin'" and "Who Loves You" added even more mystique to his innovative beatmaking, but the remixer/producer understands the enduring attraction of great vocals. Pilooski's trademark dice-ups sell as limited-edition collectibles on eBay - but it's his flair for raising the stakes on a rollicking missile like Simone's "Take Care Of Business" that makes this one of the more immediate go-to-track's on #4. Giant orchestral swoops and pounding rhythms reinforce everything the prescient Nina has to say about her state of affairs circa 1965.
"Bim Bom" - Psapp Remix - Astrud Gilberto
Beneficiary of a subtle makeover on Verve Remixed 2 ("Gilberto's "Here's That Rainy Day" remixed by Koop), Astrud Gilberto, the alluring vocalist and former wife of legendary guitarist Joao Gilberto, who wrote "Bim Bom," succeeds in capturing the essence of a song that Joao recorded first. How fitting that the playful London boy/girl duo Psapp - Carim Clasmann and Galla Durant - take the captivating remix to the next level. Known for using arcane musical instruments and homemade 'sound emitters,' the inventive practitioners of 'toytronica' gleefully owe up to their moniker here, planting xylophonic minefields and tippling horn bursts throughout Astrud's bubbly frolic. Composers of the quirky theme to the hit ABC TV show Grey's Anatomy, the meticulous pair manage to somehow preserve the inherent dignity of the dreamy song, an idiosyncratic homage worth of the 1965 release that spawned it, Look To The Rainbow.
"Tenderly" - Mocky Remix - Anita O' Day
Anita O' Day's uncanny ability to navigate the thicket of improvised rhythm and melody made her a trailblazer of bebop vocals. Her work with giants such as Gene Krupa and Stan Kenton in the '40s led to a tapestry of signature albums in the mid-'50s that still reign among the cream of the Verve catalogue. Anita's standout performance on the song "Tenderly" braces Oscar Peterson's trickling piano (from her 1957 classic Anita Sings The Most), setting up producer/remixer Mocky's potent counter-punch of breezy dynamics: smooth bass-lines complemented by a wash of guitar and Anita's lush evocation of the song title. Check out Mocky's jazz/funky rendering of Feist's 2004 offering Mushaboom, or his spare old school production of unconventional R&B newcomer Jamie Lidell's acclaimed CD Jim - both proving the cat is indeed one old-soulster himself.
"Tea For Two" - Chris Shaw Remix - Sarah Vaughan
Chris Shaw was honored to apply his nimble touch to Sarah Vaughan's classic "Tea For Two," pruned from her Latin-fused 1965 album Viva Vaughn, produced by another not-to-shabby knob-turner, Quincy Jones. Shaw's top-notch rep has put him behind the console on a rare array of albums - everything from Dylan's Love And Theft to Public Enemy's Fear Of A Black Planet. He is also a fan of the Remixed series and approached the idea of tinkering with a national treasure with requisite humility. Viva Vaughan was recorded in the midst of the Bossa Nova craze. Shaw's legendary sensitivity toward the art of the vocal uplifts the three-time Grammy® winner's spicy rendition and sets her down gently in the hull of her own golden talent.
"Dilo Como Yo" - (Antibalas Remix) Patato & Totico
Acclaimed Afrobeat ensemble Antibalas have a field day with Carlos 'Patato' Valdes' seminal collaboration with Cuban singer Totico, "Dilo Como Yo," from their definitive 1967 album Patato & Totico. The 12-piece band, hailing from Brooklyn NY and known for their incendiary live shows, combine elements of Afrocentric percussion, jazz, funk, dub and improvisational patter, displaying it all on the classic song which has long been recognized as the most influential rumba albums of all time. Antibalas' unique fusion thrills and enthralls just as much as the original, leaving the heart of Patato's creation as intact as his reputation as music's foremost Cuban percussionists. The legendary musician passed away in December of 2007.
"Evil Ways" - Karriem Riggins Remix - Willie Bobo
Karriem Riggins has thrived as a left-of-center hip hop impresario and in-demand drummer for artists such as Diana Krall and others. A respected producer who has turned knobs for The Roots, Common, and most recently Erykah Badu, his jazz background makes him the ideal Verve series candidate. He chose to play outrider to one of famed latin percussionist Willie Bobo's most treasured interpretations, the simmering "Evil Ways," from his 1967 disc Bobo Motion. Willie's sparkling small combo sound melds seamlessly into Riggins' intimate approach - session man to session man - a cool embrace of timeless, 'greasy' rhythms and pure latin soul sopped up into a bristling cauldron of hopped-up funk.
"Everybody Loves The Sunshine" - 9th Wonder Remix - Roy Ayers
With producers Dahlia Ambach Caplin and Todd C. Roberts personally asking Roy Ayers for permission to include his influential classic "Everybody Loves The Sunshine," Remixed 4 wouldn't be complete without this durable funk classic set in motion. Sampled by scores of hip hop artists and often cited as a touchstone of the acid jazz movement of the 1980s, Ayers' 1976 album of the same name is a mainstay of every DJ's collection. North Carolina DJ/producer 9th Wonder (he's worked with Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, and others) gets the nod here, and he delivers the Ayers' classic to yet another generation of fans via intricate multitracking that captures a swaying immortality about the memorable song echoing back to its funk roots.
"I Get A Kick Out Of You" - The Cinematic Orchestra - Ella Fitzgerald
One of the most haunting and original offerings in the history of the Verve Remix series, made all the more enticing by enigmatic mastermind Jason Swinscoe, the man behind The Cinematic Orchestra's British-based electro/jazz sleight-of-hand. The determined producer/remixer pares down the Ella Fitzgerald staple to not much more than hissing vinyl, a wispy reworking of guitar, and an ethereal vocal delay that sounds like Ella is serenading the cosmos. Plucked from her first songbook entry - 1957's Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Songbook - she is as she was: eternally magnificent. As chilling as it is beautiful. Time capsule stuff from a group that keeps besting itself. Somewhere far off, Cole Porter is working on their swan song.
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