A I Got No Kick Against Modern Jazz

Various Artists

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A I Got No Kick Against Modern Jazz Review

by Scott Yanow

Jazz musicians have been recording Beatles songs ever since 1964, generally with very indifferent results. This CD is a good idea that is poorly executed. 14 Beatles songs are performed by 14 different groups, ranging in style from McCoy Tyner to Lee Ritenour, but unfortunately, the great majority of these renditions pay such a loving tribute to the melodies (with the accent on easy-listening moods), instead of trying to come up with fresh ideas and approaches, that the results are predictable and quite forgettable. Best are the McCoy Tyner trio's "She's Leaving Home," Chick Corea's solo piano exploration of "Eleanor Rigby," and Arturo Sandoval's medium-tempo blues treatment of "Blackbird." But none of those selections justify acquiring the CD, and many of the other numbers are difficult to sit through. "The Long and Winding Road" is mostly a showcase for George Benson's poppish vocal; The Groove Collective does an acid jazz rendition of "She's So Heavy" that almost works; Diana Krall sings a slow, dull version of "And I Love Her"; Tom Scott leaves no R&B cliché unused on "The Fool On The Hill"; Ramsey Lewis and his quartet give "Michelle" a lightly funky (if somewhat wandering) treatment; Lee Ritenour imitates Wes Montgomery on "A Day in the Life"; Nelson Rangell plays "Let It Be" with energy but no real idea other than trying to steal as many licks as possible from David Sanborn; Russ Freeman burdens "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with some very annoying electronic percussion and an R&B vocal group; Spyro Gyra sounds very lethargic on "In My Life"; David Benoit's "Here There and Everywhere" is only a half-step above Muzak; and Dave Grusin concludes the set with a thoughtful but unadventurous solo piano version of "Yesterday." What a waste.

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