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Okay, all you hipsters, you need this CD. Throw a few of these cuts on your next “Party Playlist” and you can impress everyone with your appreciation of the hippest jazz and your ironic attitude towards classic rock. Or vice versa, if you prefer. Either way, you’ll earn plenty of WTF points.
Jetsetter Jazz melds jazz standards with the biggest rock hits. For the most part, they take familiar jazz riffs and superimpose a well-known rock melody and lyrics on top, all delivered in pure jazz style. After the first cut, “Purple Panther,” which crosses the Pink Panther Theme with “Purple Haze,” lands solidly with listeners and gets a few knowing smirks, the jokes just keep on coming; you get “Rumba With the Devil,” “Same Old Song and Scat,” and “Cinnamon Doll.” (Do I even need to name the tunes involved in these?)
But this CD is more than a joke. You can not only listen to it repeatedly, you will want to. It works because Nutty play their jazz so well. Throughout, you feel like you’re in some suave, smoky nightclub. There are few virtuoso solos here, just well-performed swinging jazz.
Where the band really excels, however, is in the tunes they choose to match up. Some pairings are so perfect they sound completely natural. The idea of Steve Tyler singing scat is perfect, he almost does that anyway. Likewise for giving “Message in a Bottle” a Latin-jazz basis (“Manteca in a Bottle”), and throwing in a little “Gilligan’s Island” is just icing on the cake. As soon as “The Impossible Past” started with the “Mission Impossible Theme” I could already hear Jethro Tull’s “Living In the Past” sliding in on top of it.
Other pairings are less obvious, but certainly no less inspired. Whoever thought throwing some Thelonious Monk riffs into “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (and calling it “Pleasant Valley Monkday”) was a true genius. Likewise with appending “Nights in White Satin” to “Take Five” (“Five Nights”); and I must say that pretentious bit of poetry at the end sounds much better delivered as a jive beatnik than a spaced-out hippie.
So, come for the humor, stay for the tunes. Tunes which sound like they were always meant to live together.
Jetsetter Jazz is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .