Re:imagined (Blue Note)

Blue Note

Released October 16, 2020

The Guardian 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2020




Blue Note and Decca have teamed up to release Blue Note Re:imagined, a brand new collection of classic Blue Note tracks reworked and newly recorded by a selection of the UK scene’s most exciting young talents today. Representing a bridge between the ground-breaking jazz label’s past and future, the project features contributions from a rollcall of internationally acclaimed jazz, soul and R&B artists including Nubya Garcia, Shabaka Hutchings, Blue Lab Beats, Emma-Jean Thackray, Ishmael Ensemble, Melt Yourself Down, Fieh, Mr Jukes, Yazmin Lacey, Alfa Mist, Steam Down, Skinny Pelembe, Ezra Collective, Poppy Ajudha, Jordan Rakei, and Brit Award-winner Jorja Smith, whose version of St Germain’s “Rose Rouge” (which was based on a sample of Marlena Shaw’s “Woman of the Ghetto”) NPR Music called “a global call to prayer for the disenfranchised.”

The track, which originally appeared on St Germain’s 2000 Blue Note album Tourist, was itself based on a sample of Marlena Shaw’s “Woman of the Ghetto” from her 1973 album Cookin’ With Blue Note At Montreux. Smith’s stunning new version takes its cues from classic soul, jazz and reggae and perfectly captures the enduring Blue Note aesthetic.

Blue Note boasts an illustrious catalog that traces the entire history of jazz, and the Re:imagined project features music originally created by some of its most legendary artists. Alongside Smith’s reworking of Rose Rouge is Ezra Collective’s version of Wayne Shorter’s Footprints plus interpretations of tracks by the likes of Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Donald Byrd, Eddie Henderson, McCoy Tyner and Andrew Hill. Having seen cross-pollination with a multitude of genres over the last few years, including grime, trap, afrobeat and hip-hop, the new UK jazz scene has enjoyed much-deserved mainstream recognition. Blue Note Re:imagined reflects this melting pot of diversity and shines a light on an energetic, free-flowing movement that continues to flourish.

Track Listing:

Disc 1

1. Rose Rouge (Ludovic Navarre) featuring Jorja Smith from St Germain Tourist (2000)05:58

2. Footprints (Wayne Shorter) feat. Ezra Collective from Wayne Shorter Adam’s Apple (1966) 06:19

3. Watermelon Man (Under the Sun) (Herbie Hancock) feat. Poppy Ajudha from Herbie Hancock Takin’ Off (1962) 04:31

4. Wind Parade (Laurence Mizell) feat. Jordan Rakei from Donald Byrd Places and Spaces (1975) 04:50

5. Illusion (Silly Apparition) (Doya Beardmore / Andrew Hill) feat. Skinny Pelembe from Andrew Hill One for One (1969) 04:13

6. Galaxy (Eddie Henderson) feat. Alfa Mist from Eddie Henderson Sunburst (1975) 09:12

7. Search for Peace (McCoy Tyner) feat. Ishmael Ensemble from McCoy Tyner The Real McCoy (1967) 04:21 8. A Shade of Jade (Joe Henderson) feat. Nubya Garcia from Joe Henderson Mode for Joe (1966) 06:47

Disc 2

1. Etcetera (Wayne Francis) feat. Steam Down / Nubya Garcia from Wayne Shorter Etcetera (1965) 06:48

2. Montara (Bobby Hutcherson) feat. Blue Lab Beats / Steam Down / Afronaut Zu from Bobby Hutcherson Montara (1975) 04:40

3. I’ll Never Stop Loving You (Nicholas Brodszky / Sammy Cahn) feat. Blue Lab Beats / Yazmin Lacey from Dodo Greene My Hour of Need (1962) 05:53

4. Armageddon (Wayne Shorter) feat. Fieh / Yazmin Lacey from Wayne Shorter Night Dreamer (1964) 04:56

5. Maiden Voyage (Herbie Hancock) feat. Fieh / Jukes from Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage (1965) 03:27

6. Prints Tie (Bobby Hutcherson) feat. Shabaka Hutchings / Jukes from Bobby Hutcherson San Francisco (1970) 04:13

7. Caribbean Fire Dance (Kushal Gaya / Joe Henderson / Pete Wareham) feat. Melt Yourself Down / Shabaka Hutchings from Joe Henderson Mode for Joe (1966) 06:39

8. Speak No Evil (Night Dreamer) (Wayne Shorter) feat. Emma-Jean Thackray from Wayne Shorter Speak No Evil (1964) & Night Dreamer (1964) 03:12


Jorja Smith: vocals (Disc 1: 1)

Femi Koleoso: drums (Disc 1: 1, 2)

James Copus: trumpet (Disc 1: 1)

James Allsopp: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone (Disc 1: 1)

James Rudolph Crewsick: double bass (Disc 1: 1)

Joe Armon-Jones: piano, keyboards (Disc 1: 2), wurlitzer electric piano (Disc 1: 8)

James Mollison: saxophone (Disc 1: 2)

Ife Ogunjobi: trumpet (Disc 1: 2)

TJ Koleoso: bass guitar (Disc 1: 2)

Jack Stephenson-Oliver: keyboards (Disc 1: 3)

Mutale Chashi: bass (Disc 1: 3)

Sam Ouissellat: drums (Disc 1: 3)

Tom Ford: guitar (Disc 1: 3)

Poppy Ajudha: vocals (Disc 1: 3)

Mike Lesirge: clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, flute (Disc 1: 4)

Ernesto Marichales: tambourine, shaker, agogo bells, conga (Disc 1: 4)

Samuel Crowe: piano (Disc 1: 4)

Jordan Rakei: vocals, electric guitar, keyboards (Disc 1: 4)

Jonathan Harvey: bass (Disc 1: 4)

Jim Macrae: drums (Disc 1: 4)

Jake Ferguson: bass guitar (Disc 1: 5)

Chloe Beth Smith: keyboards, vocals (Disc 1: 5)

Skinny Pelembe: strings, guitar, drum programming, synthesizer (Disc 1: 5)

Malcolm Catto: drums (Disc 1: 5)

Sam Rapley: bass clarinet (Disc 1: 6)

Fabio de Oliveira: drums (Disc 1: 6)

Jamie Leeming: guitar (Disc 1: 6)

Johnny Woodham: trumpet (Disc 1: 6)

Alfa Mist: piano (Disc 1: 6)

Kaya Thomas-Dyke: bass guitar (Disc 1: 6)

Harry Stoneham: bass (Disc 1: 7)

Alfie Grieve: trumpet (Disc 1: 7)

Jake Spurgeon: synthesizer (Disc 1: 7)

Stephen Mullins: guitar (Disc 1: 7)

Holly Wellington: vocals, piano, keyboards (Disc 1: 7)

Pete Cunningham: saxophone (Disc 1: 7)

Rory O’Gorman: drums (Disc 1: 7)

Sam Jones: drums (Disc 1: 8)

Daniel Casimir: double bass (Disc 1: 8)

Nubya Garcia: saxophone (Disc 1: 8)

Adeola Badejo: vocals (Disc 2: 1)

Isobella Burnham: bass, vocal (Disc 2: 1)

Eddie Hicks: drums (Disc 2: 1)

Lorenz Okello Osengor: piano (Disc 2: 1)

Wayne Francis: keyboards, flute (Disc 2: 1)

David Mrakpor: keyboards, bass guitar, vibraphone (Disc 2: 2)

Jerome Thomas: vocals (Disc 2: 2)

Dylan Jones: trumpet (Disc 2: 2)

NK-OK: drums, percussion, programming (Disc 2: 2)

Saffron Grace: vocals (Disc 2: 2)

Marla Mbemba: bass guitar (Disc 2: 3)

Jordan Hadfield: drums (Disc 2: 3)

Sarah Tandy: keyboards (Disc 2: 3), piano (Disc 2: 5)

Ife Ogunjobi: trumpet (Disc 2: 3)

Yazmin Lacey: background vocalist (Disc 2: 3)

Ola Øverby: drums, glockenspiel (Disc 2: 4)

Lyder Øvreås Røed: flugelhorn, trumpet (Disc 2: 4)

Solveig Margrethe Wang: clarinet (Disc 2: 4)

Jørgen Kasbo: guitar (Disc 2: 4)

Edvard Synnes: piano, synthesizer (Disc 2: 4)

Sofie Tollefsbøl: vocals (Disc 2: 4)

Andreas Rukan: bass (Disc 2: 4)

Jonny Murray: trumpet (Disc 2: 5)

Jack Steadman: keyboards (Disc 2: 5)

Tom Herbert: bass (Disc 2: 6)

Tom Skinner: drums (Disc 2: 6)

Dave Okumu: guitar (Disc 2: 6)

Shabaka Hutchings: clarinet (Disc 2: 6)

Kushal Gaya: vocals (Disc 2: 7)

Adam Betts: drums (Disc 2: 7)

Ruth Goller: bass (Disc 2: 7)

Pete Wareham: bass programming, baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone, drum programming (Disc 2: 7)

Dougal Taylor: drums (Disc 2: 8)

Lyle Barton: Rhodes (Disc 2: 8)

Emma-Jean Thackray: drum programming, trumpet, synthesizer, bass, vocals (Disc 2: 8)

Recorded at The Fish Market Studio, Livingston Studios, Press Play Studios, Quartermass Sound Lab, Gizzard Recording, Invada Studios, Soup Studios, UK, The Engine Rooms, The Blue Lab, Price’s Studio, Athletic Sound, Cable Management Studios, Movementt Studios, Sarm Studios, Red Bull Studios, London


Jazz players frequently hold hands across the generations. This 16-track compilation finds today’s youthful, often London-based renaissance in dialogue with the revered New York label’s deep back catalogue. That conversation is both learned – these are strong players – and chatty. Respect for key texts by genre greats plays off against the hybrid vigour of the remix.

Varying moods and approaches make this reimagination a rollercoaster ride, but mostly in a good way. R&B singer Jorja Smith kicks off with a mere 20-year-old stripling, St Germain’s sampledelic Rose Rouge (2000), Smith emoting silkily up top, the band controversially taking the original’s fraught BPMs right down.

But the meat of this compilation finds scene leaders like sax players Shabaka Hutchings and Nubya Garcia flexing eloquently over Bobby Hutcherson’s fusion cut Prints Tie, and Blue Note stalwart Joe Henderson’s outing A Shade of Jade, respectively. The trip-hop feel and commitment to beauty that Ishmael Ensemble add to the late McCoy Tyner’s Search for Peace elevates the middle of the tracklisting. The idiosyncratic Melt Yourself Down, meanwhile, were never going to transcribe Joe Henderson’s Caribbean Fire Dance note for note; instead, they rev up the track’s rave and fire.

Kitty Empire (The Guardian)