Impulsive!: Revolutionary Jazz Reworked

Artist: Various ArtistsTitle: Impulsive!: Revolutionary Jazz ReworkedRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Orisanmi Burton

For the uninitiated, the name “Impulse!” may not solicit a particular response. For all others this declaration, when set against orange and black packaging and adorned with converse exclamation points brings to mind many of jazz music’s most legendary figures. From 1961 to 1976 composers like Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Saunders and Charles Mingus all recorded for this landmark imprint. It was also here, that they were able to produce some of their most creative and experimental works, making it one of the most formidable names in jazz music.

Impulsive!: Revolutionary Jazz Reworked (Impulse!) is the an introduction (or induction) to a new generation of listener. Much in the vain of the Verve Remixed series and Blue Note’s recent revival efforts, Impulsive! enlists innovative producers of Hip-Hop and electronic music to reinterpret some of the label’s most well-known works. Here you’ll find a laudable rendition Charles Mingus’ “II B.S.” by the RZA as well as Gerardo Frisina’s catchy house rendition of “Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac” by Dizzy Gillespie. The album also features Kid Koala, Prefuse 73 and a surprise drop from Ravi Coltrane (John Coltrane’s son). But perhaps the most compelling piece on the eleven-track compilation is Chief Xcel’s work on Archie Shepp’s indomitable “Attica Blues”. While much of the original recording is left intact – the hypnotizing baseline, blaring saxophone and powerful vocals – Xcel’s heavy kicks, snares and scratches serve beautifully to amplify the statement in true Hip-Hop fashion.

Three decades after their dominance in the jazz genre, re-mastered versions of the expansive Impulse! catalog continue to lure newcomers and seasoned enthusiasts alike to record shops throughout the world. Impulsive!: Revolutionary Jazz Reworked will prove to be a strong addition to this hallmark jazz institution.