Blue Note Plays the Beatles

Various Artists

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Blue Note Plays the Beatles Review

by Al Campbell

Blue Note Plays the Beatles contains 11 previously released performances by jazz artists dipping into the Lennon/McCartney songbook. When deciding to cover such well-known songs, an artist has two possible ways of going about it: either re-create the track with no challenge to the original or attempt the complete opposite. Falling into the first category are "I've Just Seen a Face" by Holly Cole, "And I Love Her" by Kevin Hays, and "Come Together" by Dianne Reeves and Cassandra Wilson with Bob Belden. These are straightforward, enjoyable re-creations, but add nothing new to the originals. The second category is represented by the two strongest tracks on Blue Note Plays the Beatles: Bobby McFerrin's overdubbed a cappella "Drive My Car" and Grant Green's funk attack on "A Day in the Life." Both artists truly pay homage to the Beatles' creativity by breathing new life into these universally acclaimed tracks. Grant Green especially transforms "A Day in the Life" into a funk groove that completely sidesteps the majestic, string-laden, hallucinogenic cacophony that was the hallmark of the song. Overall, Blue Note Plays the Beatles is similar to the best of the Fab Four's original albums: wonderful middle-of-the-road material mixed with a few timeless oddities that should please both jazz heads and Beatles fans.

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