Feb 4, 2011
Given Walt Disney's fondness for
jazz music dating back to the late 1920s and early '30s, it's no
surprise that many artists in subsequent decades recorded
interpretations of popular songs associated with his film's
soundtracks. Disney music fans over the years included, Louis
Armstrong, Dave Brubeck (Dave Digs Disney), Miles
Davis Some Day My Prince Will Come"), John Coltrane
(“Chim-Chim-Cheree”) and even Sun Ra (“Hi Ho, Hi Ho”). The embrace
of Disney's musical legacy continues with a compilation of newly
recorded songs, Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody
Wants to Be a Cat, which will be released by the Walt
Disney Records imprint, Disney Pearl Series on February 15th.
Produced by Jason Olaine and engineered by Joe Ferla, the vibrant 13-song collection features a who's who of contemporary jazz stars and up-and-comers from The Bad Plus, Joshua Redman, and Roy Hargrove to Mark Rapp, Alfredo Rodriguez, Kurt Rosenwinkel and vocalists Nikki Yanofsky. One of the first artists to sign on to the project, the dean of jazz piano Dave Brubeck, who recently turned 90 years old, delivers two tracks, including "Some Day My Prince Will Come" and "Alice in Wonderland," a trio date featuring Roberta Gambarini on vocals.
Olaine has been a leader in a wide variety of music-related activities. From 1993-1999 he was Artistic Director of Yoshi’s in the Bay Area, where he helped usher the nightclub into prosperity and national acclaim. In 1999 he was then hired at Verve Records in New York City as Director of A&R and Staff Producer. While at Verve, Olaine won a Grammy for producing Directions in Music by Herbie Hancock/Michael Brecker/Roy Hargove and was nominated for producing John Scofield’s uberjam and Roy Hargrove’s RH Factor In 2006 Olaine was hired as General Manager of Monterey Jazz Festival Records, and charged with overseeing the digitization and monetization of the storied festival’s 50 year archive and bringing such performances by Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck and Dizzy Gillespie to market. He is currently the Artistic Director of Yoshi’s San Francisco; Artistic Director and talent buyer for George Wein’s Jazz Festival 55 in Newport, the nation’s oldest jazz festival and GM of MJF Records
I spoke with Jason about the new CD, which he hopes will result is a series of releases and perhaps live performances. Podcast 206 is that conversation, with musical interludes including three sneak previews from the project:
Esperanza Spalding – “Chim-Chim-Cheree” from Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat.
Alfredo Rodriguez – “The Bare Necessities” ” from Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat.
Nikki Yanofsky – “It’s a Small World” from Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat.
Billie Holiday – “Strange Fruit (Tricky Remix) from Verve Remixed. A tad controversial, Olaine supervised the first of the Verve remix projects, with Trip-Hop ace Tricky taking the classic Billie Holiday song and turning it into something altogether new and different.
Dave Brubeck – “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Dave Digs Disney. A little outro music from the greatest of Disney interpreters, circa 1956, with Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on alto sax, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums.