Friday, April 30, 2010

Verve Remixed Volumes One and Three


They're just so cool, you know?  The collection that translates into so many settings. Background for getting ready before a big night out.  An effortless listen after you've had a big night.  A party-opener that's not too raucous but still has a bit of pizazz.  And of course, ideal for gettin' busy.  You know what I mean.

Never a stretch for me, as I've grown up with most of these early jazz and blues songs, plus I love hearing them remixed by so many great DJs.  And the albums are full of my favourite singers - Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holliday, Nina Simone - beginning to see a pattern here?  Girl loves her jazz divas, no question.

While I've enjoyed having these in our collection, I'm a bit cheesed we don't have all the albums - so I'm voting we give these away and buy the deluxe set...  AND the Christmas CD which I had no idea existed before doing the back-story research for this review. (YourZ sez: okay, this is probably a Christmas CD I could listen to without wanting to pull my tongue out through my ears)

VERDICT: THROW THEM OUT (after we get the box set, of course)


Now this is jazz I can listen to without any problem.  Remixed by some of the best producers around, the addition, in a lot of cases, of cool, groove-laden beats has only improved the tracks.  I'm sure a lot of jazz purists would probably vomit on their grandmother before listening to any of these songs, but the reality is the Verve collection has updated a lot of standards and exposed them to a whole new audience and, in doing so, has guaranteed these awesome pieces of music will live well beyond the artists who originally performed them.  

Both these collections feature some great versions of songs you might already know but done with such refreshing twists, you may not initially recognise them.  Take Summertime, for instance, performed by Sarah Vaughan on Volume One.  It is remixed by United Future Organisation (UFO), who have taken the original to a new and very different place.  The original song, so often covered, is barely recognisable but for the vocals.  It is a superb update.

Another track by Sarah Vaughan is the classic Peter Gunn.  I always thought the track was an instrumental, so imagine my surprise hearing the vocals to this classic.  The remix, by Mick Sedgley, adds a big beat element to the original that suits it perfectly.  Nina Simone's version of Lilac Wine, another favourite, has been given a simple yet effective ambient retelling.  This is only a taste of the listening treats available on these two collections alone and, as Mine has suggested, the box set won't be too far away.


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