12 April 2010
THE LONDON JAZZ FOUR - TAKE A NEW LOOK AT THE BEATLES
London Jazz Four for Polydor from 1967.
Mike McNaught-Piano,Harpsichord ;Ron Forbes-Vibes; Brian Moore -Bass; Len Clarke-Drums .
I never could and still can't stomach The Beatles but this is a real corker of an album that somehow transcends the original songs to the extent that many of the tracks don't sound like Beatles covers at all!
Here's a write up from AllAboutJazz:
This Brit quartet made the songs of the Fab Four their own, taking a lot of risk in reinterpreting many timeless classics but also approaching lesser-known Lennon-McCartney tunes (sadly, there are no Harrison compositions on the album). The result is a collection of songs that sound almost if they were completely new. For instance, "I Feel Fine" receives a Bach-like harpsichord riff that repeats itself throughout the track, the rest of the instruments basically improvising around the song's original melody.
John Lennon's Dylan-esque "Rain gives a lot of space for vibes player Ron Forbes and pianist Mike McNaught alternately to showcase their visions on each song. Gone is the song's original dark feel, which is replaced by a slow, peaceful one. The early tune "Yes It Is" is barely recognizable, featuring percussion, finger cymbals, and a triangle as backdrop for the piano, which sounds as if McNaught's fingers had a hard time moving over the keys, giving an otherwise simple song an eerie, almost ghostly feel.
The quartet swings through "Please Please Me" and "Things We Said Today", but the latter has more of a Latin jazz sound with some Afro undertones. "A Hard Day's Night" turns out to be one of the best tracks on the lp. The song morphs into a jazz waltz, which is an interesting development. Also pay close attention to the playfulness and simplicity of the musicians' take on "Yellow Submarine".