Monday, June 1, 2015
Album Review: OJT- New Standards for the Green Lady
I’m entirely in favor of the concept of new jazz standards.
Not only do I race to the exit every time a band launches into “Kansas City,” I don’t ever need to hear “In a Mellow Tone,” “The Girl From Ipanema” or “Satin Doll” again.
The intentions of the organ trio of Ken Lovern, Brian Baggett and Kevin Frazee on the new OJT album New Standards for the Green Lady Lounge are commendable.
The playing and arrangements of the de facto house band of the Green Lady Lounge are also excellent. Unfortunately, I don’t care for much of their repertoire.
I’ve already heard Lennon-McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby,” Clapton-Gordon’s “Layla” and Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” far too many times to embrace OJT’s interpretations of the songs as my new jazz standards.
Less familiar material including the Grateful Dead’s “West LA Fadeaway” and a pair of relatively obscure Steely Dan tracks, consequently, are more appealing. The freshest cover is a version of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”
I prefer contemporary compositions to the classic rock favored by OJT.
Mark Lowrey’s interpretation of the Republic Tigers' ”Buildings and Mountains” is exquisite. Robert Glasper’s rendition of Jhené Aiko's 2014 hit ”The Worst” is also astounding.
Recent material by Alabama Shakes, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean and Charlie Wilson offers similar promise as potential new jazz standards.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)