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Jazzanova - Blue Note Trip - lookin' back, movin' on

2006-03-30 07:27

When choosing material to remix for this double-CD, Jazzanova picked out lesser known tracks by top artists from the Blue Note catalogue . Blue Note let them pick whatever they wanted.

The useful liner notes (Yes, liner notes. How cool is that?) reveal that these DJ remixers from Deutschland are such big fans of Blue Note's catalogue that they already owned much of the original material on vinyl. They mastered directly from their own records in many cases, and (being German) even explain the process in point form.

CD 1 is the Lookin' back half of this collection. Bobbi Humphrey, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, Sam River and other brilliant stars of blues and jazz are remixed, so gently that often the effects are nearly indiscernible - if you don't know the originals, that is.

CD 2 takes another selection of tunes and turns them acid jazzy, infusing them with a sunny Latin American slickness, synth-ing up the odd melodic line but keeping the abstraction levels low. The mood becomes increasingly warm, energetic and acoustic as you listen on. The tracklisting travels from the rather courtly lumbering of Bobby Hutchinson's "Love Song" through the familiar trombones of Curtis Fuller's "Quantrale" to the bluesy tenor sax of "Merci Bon Dieu" (Charlie Rouse). It's an easy ride.

Jazzanova's updating touches are light, but expert. In the recent tradition of most dance albums, the tracks interlock seamlessly - no nasty half second gaps of dead silence. There's a bit of extra reverb applied, giving the old fashioned recordings a bit more zing. Where Jazzanova go as far as actually adding their own arrangements and instrumental interludes, they get it right - making a sparse track like Eddie Gale's "Song of Will" more accessible than the original; giving them a run at being heard by a broader audience.

Blue Note Trip neither rehashes the same old tracks that everyone else has, nor submerges great songs in repetitive beats for the sake of cheaply flogging them in the dance market. As remix albums go, this is best of breed.

- Jean Barker


Compiled by passionate experts who had the chance to pull anything out of the label's vaults, the 2-CD set covers several decades of musical experimentation by talented players like Herbie Hancock, Bobbi Humphrey and Donald Byrd.

Jazzanova's light but expert touch gives a delicious sheen to cool tunes by jazz stars from the respected Blue Note label.


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