Record of the Day: Various Artists, "Verve Remixed"

Record of the Day: Various Artists, “Verve Remixed”

Various artists
Verve Remixed (Cd Verve B00006316W)

If we were to listen to Paolo Conte we would have to resign ourselves to the fact that women don't like jazz; in reality many other people also don't like this music, probably because they don't have many opportunities to listen to it and get to know it better, given that as is known it is systematically marginalized by commercial radio and television.

To try to bring a new audience closer to jazz musical culture, record companies have already begun several years ago to create compilations of African-American music classics reworked by remixers who orbit in the field of dance music; sometimes the original songs are not touched that much, other times there is a complete distortion of the original musical structure with results that are not always brilliant, sometimes decidedly questionable.

However, this is not the case with this collection published by Universal in 2002, which entrusts immortal titles belonging to the Verve catalog to names such as Tricky, MJ Cole, Thievery Corporation, De-Phazz, well known in the world of clubs and discos. All the remixers respected the scent of the vintage recordings, moving from the vocal pages of Nina Simone, Dinah Washington, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and Astrud Gilberto to the wild percussion evolutions of Willie Bobo to reach the oriental suggestions of Hare Krishna of the clarinetist Tony Scott.

The superposition of sampled grooves, often electronic, is done with extreme good taste, without that taste of burnt plastic that similar musical make-up operations often have; echoes and reverberations of a dub flavor are scattered copiously, sometimes only a verse or a short fragment of an original song is used, but these are not needlessly extravagant interventions made just to amaze, behind each of these reworkings one senses an authentic love for the original scores and for the artists who created them; whether this operation is actually capable of bringing the public on the dance floors closer to the real world of jazz is yet to be demonstrated, however at the end of listening you don't have the feeling of having wasted time (and with this type of record you don't it's not much).

In any case, if you have to organize a birthday party this is a perfect record.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.