A selection of exciting young jazz, soul and R&B artists have joined forces for a collection of reworked and newly recorded Blue Note classics.
Bridging the past and the future, the Blue Note Re:imagined project — a collaboration between Decca and Blue Note — features contributions from 16 artists, including Ezra Collective, Nubya Garcia, Emma-Jean Thackray, Jordan Rakei, Yazmin Lacey and Alfa Mist.
Ahead of the album’s Oct. 16 release, the labels shared Jorja Smith’s fresh take on St Germain’s Rose Rouge.
For that tune, the French musician St Germain had originally sampled Marlena Shaw’s song Woman of the Ghetto from her 1973 album Cookin With Blue Note at Montreux. Smith’s version takes cues from classic soul, jazz and reggae, a modern re-imagination of the song that still manages to capture the aesthetic of the long-running jazz label.
In 2019, Blue Note celebrated its 80th anniversary. The label has a long history of shaping the landscape of jazz.
“For us, Blue Note encapsulates everything that jazz is,” Ezra Collective said in a statement. “Ever-changing, ever-moving with times and always swinging. From Herbie to Wayne, Glasper and Jose James. Across the decades it’s been a constant source of inspiration, so to contribute to that is a dream come true.”
For the collaboration, Ezra Collective have contributed their take on Wayne Shorter’s Footprints. Among the other tracks on the Blue Note Re:imagined are interpretations of tunes by Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Donald Byrd, Eddie Henderson, McCoy Tyner and Andrew Hill.
With a lineup of U.K.-based artists, the album also serves as a platform for the country’s innovative cross-pollination of jazz with other genres like hip hop, Afrobeat, grime and trap.
“The music of Blue Note Records owes its enduring relevance to the fact that, throughout its 81-year history, the artists on the label consistently pushed the envelope of contemporary music,” said Blue Note president Don Was. “Blue Note Re:imagined continues that tradition by viewing the label’s legacy thru the lens of the U.K. scene’s most inventive young artists.”