Although this idea sounds good in theory, it mostly fails to deliver the goods, for both Pavement fans and jazz fans alike.


When David Elkins and Jake Cohn of the New York based label Brown Brothers came up with the concept to have a Jazz interpretation of the Pavement songbook, they recruited four New York Jazz musos to session for the album.


Whether the musicians themselves were Pavement fans, I believe, answers itself in the music. There are some brilliant moments where the quartet captures the sluggish lazy feel that was so predominant in Pavement's music, but without Malkmus' vocal delivery the charm is somewhat lost. I would also say this in regards to the few Pavement songs that weren't sung by Malkmus.


The opening track embodies the audible torment that saxophonist James Carter is capable of inflicting. I have no doubt that in his own right, he is a master of his ilk, but here he wields his brass more like an axe than a sword, and provides an unrelenting layer of tense squawking. The rest of the quartet, Cyrus Chestnut, Reginald Veal, and Ali Muhammed Jackson, do the renditions far more justice. The groove and feel that most reflects Pavement's contribution to our cultural landscape can be felt here.


The spin the quartet took on "Cut Your Hair" was the most surprising as they almost entirely ignored the structure of the song in exchange for jamming on a single phrase from the vocals. It's always important when interpreting music to put your signature on it, and this gave the song a fresh feel.


It seems the musicians have made this an exercise in dissonance, as so much of each song is spent hammering out of key. If I had read that statement, I would assume that the reviewer doesn't get jazz. But my point being, there's a point at which the tension must have release, otherwise you're just being obnoxious. I will state my bias in the way that the interplay between the sax and piano sounds cheesy in my ears. Like the Paul Shaffer Orchestra or the Saturday Night Live wankfest. This is a personal taste thing.


All up, I can't see this record hitting Pavement fan's turntables, or being featured on any Jazz radio stations. Sorry boys, nice idea though.

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