Album: Impulsive! Revolutionary Jazz Reworked
Label: Impulse Records / Universal
Revolutionary Jazz Reworked sees Impulse
Records taking a swing at the popular and ubiquitous formula wherein
DJs revisit jazz back-catalogs and do some sort of remixing. Verve Records
was the breakout example; Madlib’s Shades of Blue was a perfection of
the form. Revolutionary Jazz Reworked plays pleasantly as a jazz record,
but in many cases the deejay is unidentifiable. I suppose that raises
a philosophical question: Should the deejay be heard, or only relegated
to a communicator of other artists’ output? Well, shit, if they are
printed on the liner notes, then I would like to immediately hear some
sort of expression on their part.
Go gives George Russell’s New York ode “A Helluva Town” a
sort of psych-boutique treatment. His leaves the most trails of cutting-board
evidence, and is also the most upbeat track in the collection. For these
reasons, it is the lead-track (I suppose that Impulse was banking on
impulsive buys at the listening booth).
switches up his beats from rubato to bounce; His take on Charles Mingus’
“Il B.S.” is less Wu-Tang and more Kill Bill, that
is, it sounds like a film score, and probably should be. Filmmakers
take note: If you have a three-and-a-half-minute scene, in which, someone
is murdered, the killer walks through the rain, is subsequently shot
at, makes a getaway in a car, and careens down a hillside, then look
up the licensing for this song.
distinct Latin-jazz influence runs through the currents of Impulsive
Reworked. Mark De Clive’s “El Toro” and Gerardo Frisina’s
“Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac” are two examples. But it is mostly
the sort of latin jazz played at fusion restaurants and lounges – unsuitable
for dancing – maybe you could roast a bowl to it. The exception is DJ
Dolores’ “Spanish Rice”, which would nicely sit in between
“The Ghetto” and “Watermelon Man”.
DJs on the collection notably scratch instruments; Chief Xcel tries
his hand at the horn and Kid Koala goes after the flute. The difference
is that Chief Xcel’s track is probably the last in the collection that
does not put me to sleep. The latter third of this record is a formless
mess, either hurried or uninspired work. And yet, in a sense this goes
along with the Impulse aesthetic – to provide musicians room for experimentation.
Jazz Reworked is a fine collection, but it lacks cohesiveness. It is
like the mix-tape that doesn’t flow so well: good intentions with a
novice execution. With 23 performers bringing their singular visions
to 11 tracks, the results can be and are jumbled.