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Makaya McCraven – Deciphering The Message (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Makaya McCraven – Deciphering The Message (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/48kHz | Time – 00:42:14 minutes | 520 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Blue Note Records

Bebop jazz remix albums are nothing new. In fact when it comes to the revered Blue Note catalog, it’s been plumbed by remixers a number of times in recent years since Don Was took over as label president. As trendy an idea as it is, remixing or more accurately making new albums out of the raw materials provided by a catalog as illustrious as Blue Note’s is a delicate dance. To succeed you must stay respectful of the sources while adding to their legacy and making music that, as drummer/remixer Makaya McCraven puts it, “people can vibe to.” There’s even an underlying educational element to these remixes. If the beat scientist generation hears a track with Lee Morgan’s trumpet or Hank Mobley’s tenor sax, perhaps this will pique enough curiosity to explore the original records. An edge that McCraven has over straight remixers who may only be manipulating laptops is that he can add live instrumental tracks to samples of the original recordings. With the octet he’s assembled—vibraphonist Joel Ross, trumpeter Marquis Hill, alto saxophonist Greg Ward, guitarists Matt Gold and Jeff Parker, bassist Junius Paul, and De’Sean Jones on tenor saxophone and flute—McCraven can control, accentuate and reshape the core rhythms of the older recordings, guiding the remix with live drums and percussion. His method is intricate and controversial, often working best when just he and a few extra instrumentalists contribute. A track like “Wail Bait,” written by Quincy Jones and originally played by an all-star group of boppers including trumpeter Clifford Brown, pianist John Lewis and drummer Art Blakey, now has Brown’s horn and Blakey’s drums opening before McCraven’s drums enter and then Jones’ flute, Ross’ vibraphone and McCraven on guitar take over the tune. In Kenny Burrell’s version of “Autumn in New York,” here called “Spring in Chicago,” his original guitar part meshes beautifully with the added flute and vibes. The massed female voices present in the original of Eddie Gale’s “Black Rhythm Happening” are seamlessly joined by drummer McCraven and Jones on tenor sax and flute on a remix of the same name. While Jack Wilson’s “Frank’s Tune,” now called “De’Jeff’s Tune,” ‘ventures a long way from the original with added keyboards and flute, it does have one of McCraven’s wisest touches—spoken introductions from original Blue Note records, in this case by Blakey. Adding fresh grooves to classic jazz has uncovered new messages in venerated vessels. – Robert Baird

1. Makaya McCraven – A Slice Of The Top
2. Makaya McCraven – Sunset
3. Makaya McCraven – When Your Lover Has Gone
4. Makaya McCraven – Ecaroh
5. Makaya McCraven – Tranquillity
6. Makaya McCraven – Wail Bait
7. Makaya McCraven – Coppin’ The Haven
8. Makaya McCraven – Frank’s Tune
9. Makaya McCraven – Autumn In New York
10. Makaya McCraven – Monaco
11. Makaya McCraven – Mr. Jin
12. Makaya McCraven – C.F.D.
13. Makaya McCraven – Black Rhythm Happening


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