Various Artists - Verve Remixed 4
Record Label: The Verve Music Group
Release Date: May 27, 2008
Verve Remixed 4, put out by The Verve Music Group is partly a retrospective of classic jazz and funk tunes by such recording artists as funk-soul master James Brown, country-blues crooner Roy Ayers, and sultry jazz singers like Billy Holiday, Nina Simone, Marlena Shaw, Anita O’Day, and Sarah Vaughan. The other aspect of the compilation is providing a chance for modern day producers to touch up these artists songs like The Roots and Erykah Badu’s guy Karriem Riggins, Amy Winehouse’s production team of Truth & Soul, and Joss Stone’s co-producer Mike Mangini. This is a disc that is really for producers who wanted to live out their dream of working on classic tunes, rather than as something which music fans would enjoy popping into their CD player. The compilation does not leave classic songs like Billy Holiday’s “Cry Me A River” or James Brown’s “There Was A Time” as is, but has them refurbished by producers who built a name for themselves by working with notable recording artists such as Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, and Feist. The album is lame in that it only has meaning to the producers who worked on the tracks. This is their experience and the disc is really for them.
The only characteristic that makes this disc valuable is its retrospective quality so you will hear songs from singers like Sarah Vaughan, Anita O’Day, Willie Boro, Nina Simone, Marlena Shaw, Roy Ayers, and Ella Fitzerad’s staple, “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” which was originally written by Cole Porter. The songs are presented in a way that updates their sound, or at least that was the objective of the producers who worked on these tracks. Jason Swinscoe who established a name for himself as the man behind the music of Cinematic Orchestra, a British electro-jazz outfit, worked on Ella’s tune, and Mocky who produced and remixed Feist’s hit song “Mushaboom” remastered Anita O’Day’s track “Tenderly.” It’s similar to the way that the Legion of Doom remixed Flyleaf’s “I’m so Sick” and Paul Oakenfold touched up of the James Bond Theme Song. If nothing else, the compilation shows that a song’s attraction is not due to the work of the producer, but in the control of the singer who delivers the track.
For people who like hearing what new music producers can do to old standards, the disc is very valuable, but for the general public, the album is lame. You’ll find more value in purchasing the Greatest Hits albums from the artists featured on this disc and hearing the songs in their original format.