"Tasty and super funky! Serious head bobber; all over this!"
— Anthony Valadez, KCRW
"The Vein Melter EP is an incredible futuristic interpretation of some
classic jazz and soul tunes. A real pleasure to listen to, whether in the
club or on my headphones. Salute."
— Rich Medina
"Herbie Hancock's classic Head Hunters album just got respectfully and
tastefully kicked four decades into the future. Beautiful arrangements,
instrumentation and head-nodding beats — love it!"
"The fusion of soul, funk and jazz has never sounded so fresh."
Out 18th May, the Vein Melter EP sees two acclaimed New York music makers, Jesse Fischer and Sly5thAve, joining forces to cover four tracks from Herbie Hancock’s seminal jazz-funk album Head Hunters, paying homage to the contemporary, crowd-pleasing spirit of the originals and reframing these incredible pieces for the dance music fans of today. Snapped up for a limited (300) edition 12" vinyl and download release by Tru Thoughts, Vein Melter has already gained a strong seal of approval on both sides of the Atlantic, with early support from Gilles Peterson (BBC 6Music) as well as KCRW’s Jeremy Sole and Anthony Valadez, to add to worldwide blog buzz.
“The original Head Hunters LP was one of those records that made me want to push further”, says Sly; “It came at a time when I was first discovering the world of improvised music and really got me excited about the different possibilities. It was in that spirit we re-imagined these songs in a more modern day context.”
Jesse elaborates on their seemingly bold decision to take on this classic work in their own style: “What really made Head Hunters special is that it represented a conscious decision for Herbie and the band to create music that was relevant to what regular people were listening and dancing to in 1973 (not just jazz critics or other musicians). So even though it may have been meaningful for us to cover those songs in an "authentic" way, I think it's more truly authentic for us to re-create the tunes in a way that reaches people today, in 2015.”
Jazz school alumnus Sly5thAve, whose prowess as a horn player and arranger has seen him tour with artists including Prince, Taylor Swift and Quantic, released his acclaimed debut album Akuma last year and also leads his own live band The ClubCasa Chamber Orchestra. Multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer and computer science boffin Jesse Fischer has made a name for himself via production for artists across the jazz, hip-hop and singer-songwriter scenes, as well as his own album projects and tours with pop artists including Laura Izibor, Ryan Shaw and Freddie Jackson.
When they first decided to embark on this collaboration, they had long admired each other’s work but not yet managed to connect the dots. Then, spurred by the 40th Anniversary of the album that had so greatly impacted on both of their lives, they hatched this plan and it spiralled from there as they headed into the studio with some of the finest musicians from New York’s musical melting pot. “At the time I was working on a bunch of orchestral stuff and Jesse was digging into some trap sounds and we had it in our mind to merge the two worlds — taking into account of course the full degree of our jazz nerd-ery including crazy chords, scales and rhythms”, says Sly. Suffice to say, this project was always going to be something unique and adventurous. “The approach was to take the spirit of the originals and reinterpret them through today's dance music”, Jesse adds; “We wanted to stretch ourselves as arrangers and producers and do something that we had never heard before — basically to apply the orchestral colorations of Gil Evans and the Birth of the Cool band to the electronic rhythms we've been hearing coming from James Blake, Hudson Mohawke, Sango, etc.”
Clicking instantly, these two gleefully curious and experimental artists egged each other on, each applying their varied skills to every stage of the recordings for an organic and free creative process. Starting with “Chameleon”, the trajectory of their musical partnership and the development of this idea can be tracked across the EP, through “Watermelon Man” and “Sly” to the finale and title track, “Vein Melter”.