Album Reviews: 'What's Going On'; 'Deja Vu'; 'Natty Dread'
Attention jazz-challenged boomers: Blue Note’s ”Cover Series” finds jazz acts remaking classic-rock albums in their entirety. It’s clever as marketing but somewhat problematic as music. The low point is fusion saxist Harp’s dentist-office-primed treatment of Gaye’s spacey manifesto. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Deja Vu becomes fleet-fingered coffee-bar instrumental fare via guitarist Haque. The most radical rethink, though, is avant-bop guitarist Hunter’s take on Bob Marley’s Natty Dread, which replaces the taut reggae of the Wailers with small-band hipster swing. Its bebop saxes and drums do the best job of fulfilling the concept of the series — so much so that ironically, it may send mystified fortysomethings running back to Marley’s original album. What’s Going On: C-; Deja Vu: B; Natty Dread: B+