Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Various Artists: Blue Note Revisited

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Jazz record-company marketing departments smell death. Panicked by the spectacle of their core fan base dying, they scramble to snag the much-coveted 18 to 34 demo. Ergo, these suits recruit a raft of hip-hop and electronica producers to infuse youthful vigor into the dusty grooves that, ironically, form the foundation of many of said producers’ own tracks. Consider it karmic/financial payback. The artists on Blue Note Revisited “reinterpret, reconstruct, and recontextualize” 13 gems from Blue Note’s vaunted vaults. All the reconstructionists assembled here (from the hip-hop, house and broken-beat genres) respect the label’s legacy, but they don’t want to seem too reverent.

There are no disasters on Revisited; nor are there any revelations. Unsurprisingly, the hip-hop knob-twiddlers fare best. Madlib reinvigorates Bobbi Humphrey’s already vibrant “Young Warrior”; J Dilla puts a lush psych-soul gloss on Brother Jack McDuff’s “Oblighetto”; and DJ Cam lends a menacing undertow of head-nodding funk beats and a lethally cool bass line to Donald Byrd’s sluggish strut “The Emperor.” Japanese nu-jazz maestros Kyoto Jazz Massive turns Eddie Henderson’s “Kudu” into a blaxploitation funk meets broken-beat rhythm orgy.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.