>> Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants To Be Cat (2011)

Artist: Various

Album: Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants To Be Cat

Genre: Jazz

Label: Disney

Tracks: 13

Type: LP

Release Date: January 25, 2011

Discs: 1

Rating: 4.35 (out of 4.00)

Grade: A+

Official Site

It’s hard to distinguish products from Disney that are essentially heart felt releases that are meant to really capture you and simple cash grabs that are put out without much thought. On first glance a collection of songs from  childhood film favorites given the Jazz treatment seems like nothing more then a quick way to make a buck on the Disney catalogue but after listening to Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants To Be A Cat the only real credit I can give to Disney is selecting the right performers and owning the rights to the songs that were so great long ago (before they started allowing their tween set artists to remake them to mostly horrid effect, in my opinion only of course), all the heart and direction belongs to the jazz performers on the compilation that either give extraordinary life to some old classics or take them off in abstract and adventurous directions. 

Title track Ev’rybody Want’s To Be A Cat starts off the album with a traditional Jazz foundation by Roy Hargrove, a brass lead track with a subtle piano backing. A good sign of things to come. Chim Chim Cher-ee by Oregon based Esperanza Spalding has a Parisian flare to it that’s somber with Spalding scat singing across the track here and there. Simply amazing. Dave Brubeck’s Some Day My Prince Will Come is a traditional Jazz track piano led. Its simplistic at its core but it gets the job done. Violinist Regina Carter takes on Find Yourself. Having received a press copy of the album with no liner notes I am unable to put my finger on which Disney film this track comes from, though it does sound very familiar, I just can’t place it. Carters rendition is so delicate its almost sad sounding and beautiful but there is enough diversity in the track from Carters Violin work to a Spanish style guitar and jazz drums. You’ve Got A Friend In Me performed by Joshua Redman really sounds like a  toned down version of the same song. It seems simpler in its Jazz form but for the life of me I can’t really distance myself from the original to make any real observations on how this version differs other then being led by Redman’s Sax performance. He’s A Tramp by Dianne Reeves is probably the most pointed towards adult ears then the rest of the album. Reeve’s sweet Jazz vocals teasingly hang on each word given a more sultry edge by the soft accompaniment of her backing band. If this album is geared more towards a purchase for your kids then nine times out of ten this track will get passed over but make time out of your day to give it a shot when the kids are out of the room. Good stuff. Its pretty much all good and I applaud Disney for taking this step seeing as how the theme parks (especially the New Orleans section) really cater to a Jazz sound anyway. Its like capturing both the films and the parks in one.

My stand outs include; The Bad Plus with their insanely abstract and Jazz mad cover of Gaston. The bad Plus are known for their covers having covered everyone from The Pixies to Aphex Twins to Black Sabbath. I was really pleased to find them on this collection. It’s A Small World  performed by Nikki Yanofsky. I know, who would have thought one of Disney’s most annoying songs could be one of its best Jazz interpretations. Yonosky makes it exciting with her exuberant voice and use of scat singing. Chim Chim Cher-ee, and He’s A Tramp. What makes the album so great though is that it’s Jazz. Anyone’s interpretations of even well known film classics can be catered to a sort of love or hate standard. Fortunately there’s just to much to love about this album. Enjoy.


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