09 October 2008

List: New Standards

This week at jazz.com, Matt Leskovic listed twelve tracks in which contemporary musicians used recent popular music for new perspectives. His list was pretty good, but I thought I would suggest a few alternates.

1. The Bad Plus, Flim

Leskovic was right to select The Bad Plus, who have offered many takes on their favorite pop music, but none work better than Aphex Twin's "Flim." Included on their first album, These are the Vistas, the tune showcases David King's energetic drumming.

2. Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood, Sticks and Stone

Here is a great case of a group reworking a pop tune into thier own milieu. From Scofield's album of Ray Charles tunes, What'd I Say, Medeski, Martin & Wood join the guitarist and meld Charles' tune into their signature brand of avant-garde funk. Coming in at a quick four minutes, this tune gets the job done in an exhilarating hurry.

3. Brad Mehldau, Everything In Its Right Place

Paranoid Android is a great track, but I prefer a different Radiohead tune from his album Anything Goes.

4. Medeski, Martin & Wood, Everyday People

From their album Combustication, MMW take the Sly Stone classic at a slow burn. MMW was the single biggest glaring omission from this list. MMW have always enjoyed signifying on popular material, covering such diverse acts as Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, and King Sunny Ade.

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