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Music Releases (more headlines) 12-10-2011

Gordon Blue Covers Classic Rock Staples With Jazzy Arrangements

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Website: http://f459c31a.tinylinks.co
When a jazz act decides to record an album of covers, the selections are usually predictable; they’re often note-for-note versions of standards by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin. On their latest album “The Hippie Standards,” the German band Gordon Blue decided to do something completely different: jazzy makeovers of classic-rock radio hits. It’s an idea that can rankle both jazz and rock traditionalists, but Gordon Blue are absolutely serious; these covers are not silly nor are they disrespectful to the original material.

The problem with most remakes is that they sound too much like what was previously released; if that’s the case, then what is the point? However, when Gordon Blue repurposes Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” as sprightly piano jazz, it is a fresh, utterly unique take that breathes new life into an overplayed oldie. “I picked some well-known and beaten songs that everybody knows,” pianist/keyboardist Udo Sailer explained. “To paint these songs in new colors was a fascinating challenge.” It may not have been easy, but Gordon Blue have successfully changed the identity of these tunes while still retaining their initial flavor. For example, Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” hasn’t lost its punch; the main difference is that this time it’s brought upon by Sailer’s flowing piano instead of Jimmy Page’s fiery guitar.

Gordon Blue was formed in 2010 by Sailer, vocalist Torsten Haus, bassist Boris Friedel, and drummer/percussionist Daniel Messina. Sailer discovered most of the members through the Internet, and the group is a unique entity in Germany’s jazz scene. “The musicians in Germany try to find their own European identity. Some have found it like Eberhard Weber, Till Brönner, and Michael Wollny; others are still searching,” Sailer revealed. “For our band I can say that we don't have that ambition. We just play and have a lot of fun, and so does our audience.”

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