Legendary labels Decca Records and Blue Note have joined forces for Blue Note Re:imagined; a brand new collection of classic Blue Note tracks brought together for the first time, reworked and newly recorded by a selection of the jazz scene’s most exciting young talents today and set for release on 25 September.
Representing a bridge between the ground-breaking label’s past and future, the project will feature contributions from a roll call of internationally acclaimed jazz, soul and R&B acts – Shabaka Hutchings, Ezra Collective, Nubya Garcia, Mr Jukes, Steam Down, Skinny Pelembe, Emma-Jean Thackray, Poppy Ajudha, Jordan Rakei, Fieh, Ishmael Ensemble, Blue Lab Beats, Melt Yourself Down, Yazmin Lacey, Alfa Mist, and Brit Award-winning Jorja Smith, whose version of St Germain’s ‘Rose Rouge’ is released today.
The track, for which St Germain originally sampled Marlena Shaw’s Cookin With Blue Note At Montreux album, takes its cues from classic soul, jazz and reggae and perfectly captures the enduringly relevant Blue Note aesthetic. You can check it out below.
Blue Note, which celebrated its milestone 80th anniversary in 2019, boasts an illustrious catalogue that traces the entire history of jazz, and the Re:imagined project features music originally created by some of its most legendary alumni. Alongside Smith’s reworking of ‘Rose Rouge’ is Ezra Collective’s version of Wayne Shorter’s ‘Footprints’ plus interpretations of tracks by the likes of Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Donald Byrd, Eddie Henderson, McCoy Tyner and Andrew Hill.
Jorja Smith said, “Honoured to be involved on this Blue Note album to rework St Germain’s anthem ‘Rose Rouge’. And with such an array of wonderful musicians on the album, including my brothers Ezra Collective”.
Ezra Collective added,“This project means so much to us in Ezra Collective. For us, Blue Note encapsulates everything that jazz is. Everchanging, evermoving with times and always swinging. From Herbie to Wayne, Glasper and Jose James. Across the decades it’s been a constant source of inspiration, so to contribute to that is a dream come true.
“Footprints was a song we learnt as teenagers, and a song we’ve haven’t left alone since. It felt the perfect opportunity to pay homage to a hero of ours, Wayne Shorter, as well as document the journey we’ve made as a band since then.”
Blue Note President Don Was said, “The music of Blue Note Records owes its enduring relevance to the fact that, throughout its 81-year history, the artists on the label consistently pushed the envelope of contemporary music. Blue Note Re:imagined continues that tradition by viewing the label’s legacy thru the lens of the UK scene’s most inventive young artists.”
Decca Head Of A&R Rachel Holmberg added, “Blue Note Re:imagined celebrates some of this iconic label’s finest jazz recordings, through the eyes of some of today’s finest jazz artists. Many of the artists involved have grown up listening to the legendary Blue Note catalogue and for many it inspired them to get into music in the first place. For Ezra Collective, who have re-imagined Wayne Shorter’s ‘Footprints’, this was the first jazz track the band ever learnt to play together, which makes this record all the more important to share with the world!”