Drummer and producer Makaya McCraven prepped Deciphering The Message, a remix album featuring new spins on classics from famed jazz label Blue Note Records’ vault. The collection of 13 remixes arrives via Blue Note on November 19 and has been previewed with a fresh take on Jack Wilson’s “Frank’s Tune” dubbed “De’Jeff’s Tune.”
The Chicago-based musician also worked on gems originally recorded by Kenny Burrell, Art Blakey, Hank Mobley, Kenny Dorham, Horace Silver, Bobby Hutcherson, Clifford Brown, Dexter Gordon and Eddie Gale. McCraven enlisted vibraphonist Joel Ross, trumpeter Marquis Hill, alto saxophonist Greg Ward, guitarists Matt Gold and Jeff Parker, bassist Junius Paul and tenor saxophonist/flautist De’Sean Jones to lay down new elements he fit into his remixes.
Deciphering The Message comes after Makaya released a remix of Gil Scott-Heron’s last LP I’m New Here as We’re New Again in 2020. “When piecing everything together, I wanted to create a narrative that made the listener feel like they were falling into this space or a movement,” stated McCraven in a press release. “I was really trying to make a record out of it, not just a series of tracks.”
“I always want to make music that will connect with people in one way, where it makes them nod or feel something or transport them somewhere,” Makaya added of an album on which he aims to introduce listeners to great songs they may not have heard before. “I also hope this makes them check out the source of this music if they have it. The music that we’re making now is part of the same route and is connected, so I want to honor tradition and release something that people can vibe to.”
Pianist Jack Wilson originally released “Frank’s Tune” on his 1967 album, Easterly Winds. McCraven’s interpretation both begins and ends with the voice of Art Blakey talking to the audience at a Jazz Messengers concert. “We want you to leave your worldly troubles outside and come in here and swing… So as the message is being delivered, ladies and gentlemen, you may pat your feet and have a ball,” Blakey says.
Check out “Frank’s Tune” (AKA “De’Jeff’s Tune”) below:
Listen to a playlist featuring the original tracks here.
Deciphering The Message Tracklist
- A Slice Of The Top (AKA “Sliced Off The Top”) [from A Slice Of The Top by Hank Mobley]
- Sunset (AKA “Son Set”) [from Whistle Stop by Kenny Dorham]
- When Your Lover Has Gone (AKA “When You’ve Left Your Lover”) [from A Night In Tunisia by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers]
- Ecaroh (AKA “Revlis”) [from Horace Silver Trio by Horace Silver]
- Tranquillity (AKA “Corner Of The World”) [from Components by Bobby Hutcherson]
- Wail Bait (AKA “Wait Bail”) [from The Memorial Album by Clifford Brown]
- Coppin’ The Haven (AKA “At The Haven Coppin’”) [from One Flight Up by Dexter Gordon]
- Frank’s Tune (AKA “De’Jeff’s Tune”) [from Easterly Winds by Jack Wilson]
- Autumn In New York (AKA “Spring In Chicago”) [from Blue Lights, Vol.1 by Kenny Burrell]
- Monaco (AKA “Monte Negro”) [from ‘Round About Midnight At The Cafe Bohemia by Kenny Dorham]
- Mr. Jin (AKA “Mr. Gin”) [from Indestructible by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers]
- C.F.D. (AKA “D.F.C.”) [from Something Personal by Jack Wilson]
- Black Rhythm Happening [from Black Rhythm Happening by Eddie Gale]