Verve Music Presents: Remix Wednesday...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

...or as I like to call it "D-Day". This is a hard post for me to write, because (contrary to popular belief) I do try to keep these posts somewhat polite and less like a warpath. I don't want to get too angry, and insult people if I can avoid it. Today, that all goes out the window.

For those of you who are not aware, Verve Music Group is a label that was started by none other than the legendary impresario Norman Granz, in 1956. Verve was one of the five record labels that Norman founded in his lifetime. Norman Granz is responsible for presenting to you artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Eldridge, Cannonball Adderly, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, Barney Kessel, Hank Jones, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Milt Jackson, Bud Powell, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Pass, Art Tatum, and many many more. By the way, if you don't recognize at least 10 of those names, leave this blog NOW.

These legendary and groundbreaking artists are responsible for so much in the history of music. They were not just jazz. They were popular music for many years before other bands (such as The Beatles) came in and had their time to shine. They were popular music because they were immensely talented, and they worked extremely hard to achieve that legendary status that they so much deserve. These musicians and singers are the reason you know such classic songs as "Summertime", "Unforgettable", "My One and Only Love", "Mack The Knife", "Lullaby of Birdland", "Someone To Watch Over Me", "Take the A-Train", "How High The Moon", "The Way You Look Tonight", "Misty", "I Got Rhythm", "Night and Day", "My Romance", "Anything Goes", and "April in Paris". Again, if you can't name at least 10 of those songs, what are you even doing here?

Now, the people that have taken over the label responsible for giving you the artists that are inspiring all the musicians and singers that you love today, are taking all these classic songs and remixing them to some crazy beats like you're in a club on Hollywood Boulevard. Correct me if I'm wrong, but would you just go and put some overalls on 'The Thinker' or paint a moustache on the 'Mona Lisa'? I didn't think so. So explain to me how it is somehow acceptable for the names on the door at Verve to remix these legendary songs? Every Wednesday on their Facebook Page they post a remix version of one of these artists singing a standard. The first time I saw this, they had Carmen McRae with "How Long Has This Been Going On" completely remixed. Immediately I said something, and an hour later they responded and posted the original version.

Now, every week they continue to post these remixed songs, and then they post the original afterwards. They want to see how many 'likes' they can get on each one and see what people prefer. I don't understand what they are trying to accomplish. First of all, anyone who prefers the remixed version to the original is an absolute fool. Secondly, do the suits at Verve really think that because you managed to butcher Ella Fitzgerald or Nina Simone, that this is what they are going to play in nightclubs now? I don't think so! No matter what you do, they are always going to be playing the things you hear on the radio. No one on mainstream radio is going to play the butchered music that you have created, and no one on the true blue jazz stations are going to play them either because they are going to be just as insulted as I am.

Dear Verve, you have attempted to take the empire that Norman Granz built and change it. That won't happen. You can remix all you want, but you will never in this lifetime or the next, accomplish anywhere near what he did. I can guarantee you that no one in your offices will be able to have even an eighth of the impact that he did on the music business. I don't really know why you waste your time. I choose not to listen to your remixes, but I hope you do know that as long as you continue to do this, you are personally insulting me. I know that I have friends and family who will agree with me. If you want to make a difference, then advertise the originals only and expose them to people who may not have a clue. Speak to the thousands of people who were scratching their heads when Casey Abrams on American Idol said that living or dead, he would've loved to have played with Oscar Peterson. Speak to Selena Gomez's fans when she said that her all-time favourite singer was Ella Fitzgerald. You may want to think about that the next time you go to butcher a classic.

If not, enjoy living in your ignorance.

Sincerely, a woman who has not lost faith in the legacy.

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Miss Tracey Nolan said...

Norman Granz, I'm sure, would be proud to have someone as passionate, knowledgable and articulate as you looking out for his great legacy. I'm so glad to hear you speak your truth!

Caftan Woman said...

I like an angry woman who knows what she's talking about!

I had no idea this sort of thing was going on. How dare they?