Scott Bradlee / Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox

The New Classics

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In the years since it debuted, Scott Bradlee's covers project, Postmodern Jukebox, has risen in status from YouTube gimmick to a beloved international touring troupe encompassing the talents of numerous singers, musicians, and dancers in a rotating theatrical ensemble. Bradlee's idea of treating contemporary pop and rock hits to retro jazz and big-band arrangements first manifested itself in 2009, when the New York-based musician uploaded a video of himself playing an '80s pop medley arranged for ragtime piano. A couple more similarly minded endeavors (e.g., A Motown Tribute to Nickelback) followed before the newly christened Postmodern Jukebox struck YouTube gold in 2012 with their snazzy take on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' hip-hop hit "Thrift Shop." Countless videos, singles, albums, and tours later, Bradlee and company found themselves starring in a 2017 PBS Cabaret Jazz special in Las Vegas. That show, released here as The New Classics, acts in part like a greatest-hits package from a group known for reinterpreting the greatest hits of others. With a crack eight-piece band led by Bradlee, a rotation of eight different singers deftly handle a wide-ranging phalanx of tunes, from '70s rock hits like Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" to more recent fare like Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" and Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass," the latter of which having been one of PMJ's most successful studio renditions. The night is "(f)emceed" by the charismatic Ariana Savales, who keeps the show running at a brisk pace and is one of its more charming elements. For those already on board the PMJ train, The New Classics offers more of the same, albeit in a more spirited live setting than on their recorded work. The arrangements are smart and the performances strong, but the artifice tends to wear a bit thin after a while, leaving a strong desire to simply seek out the original versions.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 00:48
2 04:17
feat: Aubrey Logan
5 04:56
6 03:19
feat: Casey Abrams
9 05:08
10 04:14
feat: Maiya Sykes
12 04:38
13 06:14
feat: Casey Abrams
blue highlight denotes track pick