We all have a Walt Disney cartoon tune or melody in mind, reminding us of magic afternoons spent with our parents when we were kids or with our own children now that we are grown-ups. It is a bit of this special feeling and pleasure that artists such as Gregory Porter, Melody Gardot, Stacey Kent, Jamie Cullum and other leading music stars share with us on the new project produced by Jay Newland and arranged and directed by Rob Mounsey, as they perform big band jazz covers of songs that are part of every kids heritage. Whether they come from Scandinavia, Andalusia, North Americas big cities or the Balkan plains, 21st century kids have the Disney magic in common, an imaginary world where both soft and wild tunes are closely linked to cult scenes from Uncle Walts animation classics.
Looked at in the cold light of day and from some years' distance, Gene Loves Jezebel would seem like the last band whose work would stand the test of time. Weird thing, though – in all their "everything goes" exuberance, from abstract goth wailing to balls-out Sunset Strip rock, the Aston brothers, much like their labelmates in the Cult, made everything work somehow. Not all the time, certainly, but Voodoo Dollies wisely draws on the best and biggest hits of the group, not to mention a couple of rarer items for the hardcore fanbase, to make an enjoyable career overview (certainly better than Some of the Best of Gene Loves Jezebel). Following a straight chronological order and enjoying the usual high quality of Beggars Banquet remastering, the 18-track collection is a fine treat. Besides the obvious numbers like "Desire (Come and Get It)," "The Motion of Love" (appearing here in a single mix), and "Jealous," the less well-known songs help to really flesh out the band's freaked-out, glammed-up appeal.
To say that this limited-edition six-LP Mosaic box is overflowing with classics is an understatement. Included are a variety of small-group sessions (with overlapping personnel) from the early days of Blue Note. The Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet has five songs that are the only existing examples of Charlie Christian playing acoustic guitar; clarinetist Hall, Meade Lux Lewis (on celeste), and bassist Israel Crosby complete the unique group. The king of stride piano, James P. Johnson, is heard on eight solos; other combos are led by Johnson, Hall (who heads four groups in all), trumpeter Sidney DeParis, and trombonist Vic Dickenson (heard in a 1952 quartet with organist Bill Doggett).