Jazz players frequently hold hands across the generations. This 16-track compilation finds today’s youthful, often London-based renaissance in dialogue with the revered New York label’s deep back catalogue. That conversation is both learned – these are strong players – and chatty. Respect for key texts by genre greats plays off against the hybrid vigour of the remix.
Varying moods and approaches make this reimagination a rollercoaster ride, but mostly in a good way. R&B singer Jorja Smith kicks off with a mere 20-year-old stripling, St Germain’s sampledelic Rose Rouge (2000), Smith emoting silkily up top, the band controversially taking the original’s fraught BPMs right down.
But the meat of this compilation finds scene leaders like sax players Shabaka Hutchings and Nubya Garcia flexing eloquently over Bobby Hutcherson’s fusion cut Prints Tie, and Blue Note stalwart Joe Henderson’s outing A Shade of Jade, respectively. The trip-hop feel and commitment to beauty that Ishmael Ensemble add to the late McCoy Tyner’s Search for Peace elevates the middle of the tracklisting. The idiosyncratic Melt Yourself Down, meanwhile, were never going to transcribe Joe Henderson’s Caribbean Fire Dance note for note; instead, they rev up the track’s rave and fire.