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With a name like Jazz Punks, you’d expect to hear a band desecrating jazz standards that have stood the test of time and reducing them to head banging nonsense that would make Miles Davis turn in his grave. Instead, in their debut CD, SmashUps, these guys combine the best of East and West coast jazz with classic rock and Bop, making for a very intriguing blend of sound I guarantee you’ve never heard anything like before.
From The Who to Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix to Sonny Rollin, the Jazz Punks extract samples from some of music’s most iconic tunes, blending them in such a way that by their very nature, they should repel each other. Yet, these odd arrangements somehow mesh perfectly, forming a creative style that sets the Jazz Punks apart from other jazz bands on the scene today.
I’m sure eyebrows will raise when listeners hear Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop” paired with Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia” in “Led Gillespie”; The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” with Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” in “Clash-Up”; and especially Radiohead’s “Creep” and “Paranoid Android” with Duke Ellington’s “Take the ‘A’ Train” in “Creep Train.” It’s also safe to say uberfans of either of the artists in the aforementioned pairings, as well as other musicians featured on the CD, will probably not like how these originals are cut down and fused with foreign elements. Heck, there could even be people who don’t recognize either counterpart (like myself on a couple of tracks).
Regardless where you stand, this kind of innovation is exciting to bear witness to. Fearless musicians like the Jazz Punks push the boundaries of the industry and keep it from becoming boring and predictable. Whether you like them or not, they’re definitely not like the dozens of other bands copying one other, regurgitating the same sounds. Taking such a bold risk could go either way, but I believe it’s opened the door for us to see what else they have to say in the future.
Why not give SmashUps a listen and let us know if you agree?
For more information, please visit the Jazz Punks’ website.