Local Wire

Various Artists

Taking a cue from their successful Verve Remixed series, the folks behind the legendary jazz label open the catalogue of their sub-label for 10 producers to modernize classics. While Verve was always a bit more "mainstream" -- if you can ever claim that of anything outside of light jazz -- Impulse! released an array of dizzying, poetic and experimental records. Hence, as you can imagine, remixers took many liberties on this edition. Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA had a lot of fun with Charles Mingus' "II B.S.," dubbing out the horn sections and adding a '70s sexy guitar riff aside the bassist's trademark notes. Blackalicious' Chief Xcel adds a bit of Aretha Franklin soul to Archie Shepp's "Attica Soul." Overall, Impulsive! relies more on head trips than dance grooves; however, Gerardo Frisina's percussive-driven "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and DJ Dolores' brilliant, Latin-tinged take on "Spanish Rice" both translate on the dance floor. Not as impressive as the Verve mutations, but if they keep opening doors, we'll step inside for a listen.
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Derek Beres