Sunday, November 12, 2006

Resurrecting the Dead

A few days ago I was slow in switching from the NPR station with the pledge drive to the other NPR station.* During that delay, the local pledge announcer described one of the gifts, a CD that combines old recordings of Ray Charles with new arrangements and performances by the Count Basie Band.** I have mixed feelings about this, primarily negative. The joy of collaboration is in how both parties feed off of the energy and ideas of the other party. While the Basie Band can be inspired by Ray's singing, Ray's performance will not change to better fit with the band's ideas. But the effort in "aural Photoshopping" (from the Amazon review) could provide some interesting sounds.

* I am fortunate to live between the Indianapolis-based WFYI and the Bloomington-based WFIU, with access to both.

** What is it with these big bands that keep the same name decades after the founder died? This does not seem to be a healthy trend for jazz.

4 comments:

Peter (the other) said...

I'm with you on that, feeling a distaste for extending the commercial explotation of a great artist through some stretch of credulity.

Maybe it started with Glen Miller's outfit in the war, coming back under Tex Beneke.

Skwid said...

This seems, to me, to be just another kind of mashup, if one in a genre in which they aren't as common as others...

I dig me some mashups...

Scott Spiegelberg said...

Skwid, I hadn't thought about it from that perspective. I don't know if it helps, though. From my perspective, music is always best when it has the little shifts/glitches/alterations from human error and human inspiration. Thus the best is live music, and collaborative music above all else.

Scott D. Strader said...

Looked on as a mashup, it's a particularly uninspired one. Instead of combining two or more discrete works into a creative new whole, this CD has simply re-mixed a singer with a new backup band. Ziggy Stardust redone with Bowie backed by OK Go? There could be *interesting* combinations of styles, but this Charles/Basie thing seems more like they're trying to pair like sounds. For what?

Musicians often play their arrangements against an existing recording when learning a song. That's perfectly acceptable as exercise, but it seems somewhat in bad form to choose to record your exercises and pawn them off no matter how notable a performer you are.