Various Artists

Beatles in Jazz: A Jazzy Tribute to the Fab Four

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As is proper, the music of the Beatles went further than that of most post-'50s composers to create a new set of standards for jazz fakebooks as well as an inspiration for vocalists. Beatles in Jazz: A Jazzy Tribute to the Fab Four is no exception, though it focuses on an entirely new generation of jazz artists -- exclusively singers or groups with singers. Unless you're a rabid jazzhead, you won't recognize many of these names, but that's a plus. Lisa Lauren's beautifully orchestrated "All My Loving" and "Love Me Do" are two of four tunes here taken from her own 2006 Beatles tribute recording, Lisa Lauren Loves the Beatles. The Germany-based duo Tok Tok Tok (vocalist Takunbo Akinro and saxophonist Morten Klein) are represented here by no less than five reverent yet very innovative selections -- "We Can Work It Out," "Day Tripper," "Get Back," "Come Together," and "Blackbird (Fool on the Hill)," all compiled from their 2010 album, Revolution 69. Danish vocalist and composer Veronica Mortensen's reading of "In My Life," from her 2007 album Happiness Is Not Included, is a quiet stunner and perhaps the finest moment here. On it she is accompanied only by an upright bass, making for a skeletal but stylistically sophisticated take on an iconic song. The only male vocalist on this set is Professor R.J. Ross; his reading of "Drive My Car" is in the sophisticated urban hepcat tradition of Ben Sidran -- and he's got the piano chops to match, too. In sum, Beatles in Jazz: A Jazzy Tribute to the Fab Four is an unlikely outsider compilation, but it's one that has more than its fair share of ear-opening moments.

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