It takes balls to remix Billie Holiday, but Columbia Records accepts the challenge with a forthcoming collection of reworked (and painfully remastered) versions of the jazz singer's finest songs. Billie Holiday Remixed & Reimagined features an assemblage of nu-jazz artistry, the likes of which include Digable Planets’ Lady Bug Mecca, Nickodemus and Zeb, DJ Logic, and several other notable producers.
While it’s relieving the label didn’t go completely nuts by incorporating club-oriented, 4/4 kicks pounding over Holiday’s legendary voice, any clean remake of these classics has its share of risks. Hearing Poppyseed convert “He Ain’t Got Rhythm” into a Latin swarm of overproduced, live timpani rolls is not exactly a pleasant experience. Jazeem attempts to use the raw vocals of “More than You Know” to create a crisp, jazzy hip-hop track that feels more like Starbucks in a suburban mall than a fresh track.
On a more positive note, the comp is at its best with Charles Feelgood and Tony Humphries turning out disco-esque near-instrumentals that sound less like remixes and more like new tracks sampling an affected Holiday. It’s risky business, but worth a listen, so long as Banana Republic doesn’t enlist the comp as the soundtrack to its next summer sale.
Billie Holiday Remixed & Reimagined is out August 7, 2007 on Columbia.
1. “I Hear Music (Swingsett & Takuya’s Mighty Fine Remix)”
2. “More Than You Know (Jazeem’s Throwback remix)”
3. “Spreadin’ Rhythm Around (Lady Bug vs. Lady Day RR Remix)”
4. “Long Gone Blues (GXR Remix)”
5. “Trav’lin’ All Alone (Nickodemus and Zeb Remix)”
6. “He Ain’t Got Rhythm (Poppyseed Remix)”
7. “Summertime (Organica Remix)”
8. “I’m Gonna Lock My Heart (And Throw Away the Key) (Madison Park Remix)”
9. “Glad to Be Unhappy (DJ Logic Remix)”
10. “Billie’s Blues (Daniel Y. Remix)”
11. “You’re So Desirable (Sunday People Remix)”
12. “Pennies From Heaven (Count de Money Remix)”
13. “But Beautiful (Tony Humphries THP Remix)”
14. “All of Me (Charles Feelgood Remix)”