Review: Impulsive! Revolutionary Jazz Reworked

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Nov 18 2005, 22h33

A little late on the jazz remix bandwagon is Impulse, famous label for some of the best in experimental jazz of the 1960's and '70's. While Verve has been at it enough to release three collections (and a new box set with a fourth disk, which is irritating if you already have the three and only want the new material), and Blue Note put out and absolutely fantastic collection last year, this is the first we've heard from Impulse.

The compilation is packaged in the now-familiar format of remixes on one disc, and originals on the second. Artists on the collection include giants like Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, and the remixers are no slouches either. Kid Koala, Prefuse 73, Chief Xcel of Blackalicious and Boozoo Bajou all contribute, amongst others.

The remixes all depend pretty heavily on the original materials, which is no bad thing when you're dealing with tunes this good. Still, I would have liked to have been challenged a little bit more. The styles are mostly jazzy house, breaks and trip hop. All nice stuff, but we've definitely heard it before.

There are two real high points for me on the remix disc. The first is Attica Blues (Chief Xcel Of Blackalicious Remix), combining the funky breaks, horns and vocals from the original with a contemporary heavy hip hop feel and great mixing. Strangely enough, an Archie Shepp remix was also my favourite track out of all the Verve Remixed collections.

The second high point is some sheer beauty of Telefon Tel-Aviv remixing Oliver Nelson's Stolen Moments. I hadn't previously heard the Impulse recording of this song - just the Verve one - but the strings are achingingly gorgeous. Telefon Tel-Aviv effectively re-render it through an ambient glitch filter.

All in all, a worthwhile collection which is continuing to grow on me. Four and a half stars - four stars for the remix disc, five stars for the jazz originals. And when you consider the low price of this double disc collection, it's definitely a worthwhile buy for those who like any combination of jazz with electronica or hip hop!

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