When Musicians Get Excited About Remixes, Cool Things Happen: Jay-Z, Nick Drake And Jason Parker Do Jazz

from the remix-it dept

A few months back we wrote about jazz musician Jason Parker, who was doing a variety of interesting experiments on the business model side, and also making some top notch music (his No More, No Less album has become a regular in my "albums to work to" list...). He's been working on a new project of jazz interpretations of Nick Drake's first album, funded in part via Kickstarter. Of course, lots of albums are being funded via Kickstarter these days, so there was nothing all that special about that (other than that it's a cool idea).

However, he recently released a "remix" of a song from that upcoming album, mashed up with Jay-Z. You can listen to it here:
Parker explained how this came about:
You may know that I play with an incredible rapper/hip-hop guru called Spekulation. Spek, as we call him, is super talented as a lyricist, performer, producer and beat maker. He also likes to cut shit up and stitch it back together in strange and wonderful ways.

Not thinking about any of this, I sent him some rough mixes of the forthcoming JPQ Nick Drake CD because I respect his ears and wanted to hear what he thought. What I got back was this remix. He cut up our take of "Day Is Done" with Jay-Z's "Can't Knock The Hustle", and lo and behold it was magic! Spek then asked for more mixes, so I sent him all 10 tracks. He cut 'em all up with various Jay-Z tunes and we now have a full remix album, completed before the original tunes. Go figure...

So enjoy this little sneak-peak into not one, but two forthcoming CDís! You'll get to hear the rest sometime toward the end of March.
There are a few different things to note here. First, it's pretty cool to see just how excited Parker is about all of this. He sent off a work to a friend, who sent back a very cool mashup with a different artist from a different genre and asked for more. Parker happily sent the other tracks over, and now he's thrilled that he's got a full remix/mashup album ready before he's even released his new album. Thankfully, Jay-Z has also made it clear over the years that he isthrilled and "honored" to have his work remixed with others.

Of course, in a very traditional sense, there's an awful lot of "infringement" going on here, but most of the parties are happily ignoring that because they realize that what comes out of it is something really cool. It might not match your personal taste in music, but it's pretty cool to think that three very different artists all end up coming together to create something magical and enjoyable, and part of it happened just because a third party ("Spek") decided to make it happen.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 4:12pm

    Of course, in a very traditional sense, there's an awful lot of "infringement" going on here, but most of the parties are happily ignoring that because they realize that what comes out of it is something really cool.

    No, the parties involved know that there is more promotion here than anything, and is worth it to them - plus of course, because this isn't some slack sneaky nobody doing the remixes, they also know they will get paid on the back side of the deal.

    Of course, it all crashes down if Jay-Z or his people decide they aren't feeling it. Then the shit hits the proverbial fan.

     

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  2.  
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    FatGiant (profile), Feb 14th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

    As a rule...

    ... I don't like rap.

    But all rules are meant to be broken sometime.

    This for me was one of those times. Really liked the song, and will be looking for the rest of them without a doubt.

    Thanks.

     

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  3.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 14th, 2011 @ 4:16pm

    Re:

    We'll wait for you to catch up.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 4:16pm

    Re:

    All those infringers should be in jail.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Re:

    To what?

    Please explain. I read the piece twice. I didn't see Jay-Z signing off on it, only tolerating it. Did I miss something? Please point it out.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 4:32pm

    Re: As a rule...

    I think that makes you a musicist, you should be ashamed to be promoting such a limited frame of mind

    *Musicism-Belief that some music is inferior because of its label*

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 4:48pm

    If it's at all related to copying music or infringment it's "cool" according to techdirt. When artists do remixes its often with permission and even request, big deal.

     

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  8.  
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    m3mnoch (profile), Feb 14th, 2011 @ 4:59pm

    btw, mad, mad props for hooking me up with spekulation. as a huge mashup fanboy, i've been looking for the next awesome. he's it.

    instant fan!

    m3mnoch.

     

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  9.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 14th, 2011 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I didn't see Jay-Z signing off on it, only tolerating it. Did I miss something?

    Yes. And no.

     

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  10.  
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    JS Beckerist (profile), Feb 14th, 2011 @ 5:55pm

    After some hunting...

    I found that you can download it straight from Spek's site. FLAC, MP3...probably more options:

    http://spekulation.bandcamp.com/track/cant-knock-the-hustle-pre-release-single

     

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  11.  
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    Kate Ebneter, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 6:13pm

    Of course, we don't know how Nick Drake feels about this, seeing as how he's been dead for 37 years...

     

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  12.  
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    Coasty (profile), Feb 14th, 2011 @ 6:17pm

    If you're ever up in Seattle Mike you really owe it to yourself to go see the JPQ play live.

    The first time you mentioned JPQ here I went to their web site because I love jazz, have lived in Seattle for years, and had never heard of them. Loved the free samples on the web site and bought the CD. When Jason let us know about his new project and its being set up on Kickstarter I kicked in some bucks for it. Later on in Dec he did a preview of his version of Nick Drake and it was great, listening to it live was a real kick. It had a pretty good turnout too. Met the quartet and they were all pretty cool dudes. Heh... Not to mention that all four of them were nice enough to put up with this old dude's probably stupid questions with a smile...

    Listening to a CD is nice, but hearing it live and watching the players/audience really get into it is even better.

    If it hadn't been for your mention of the JPQ on the blog, I would never have heard of them, or had the opportunity to make a contribution to the new upcoming CD. It was sort of nice knowing that in a very small way I was able to help make something happen that I love and could _never_ do myself. A big thanks to you for showing me the way to them....

    I'm also looking forward to the release party. ;)

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 6:18pm

    Re:

    I try to have a mental image of Mike Masnick rocking out to this stuff, and it turns into mostly a LOL-fest.

     

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  14.  
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    Nick Coghlan (profile), Feb 14th, 2011 @ 6:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your second paragraph agrees with your quote from the article, thus contradicting your first paragraph.

    By law, Spek's mash-ups potentially infringe copyrights. It is only working out in this case because the people involved are choosing to be sensible about it, regardless of what the law says.

     

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  15.  
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    Jason Parker, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 6:58pm

    No infringement...

    Hey Mike,

    Thanks so much for writing about the remix project! I was so blown away when Spek sent me the tracks and can't wait to release both my album and his remix album next month.

    As far as "infringement" goes, I don't believe there is any going on here. I have paid for the rights to record all the Nick Drake tunes, so that's covered. And since Spek is giving away the recordings of the remixes, not selling them, I don't believe he's infringing on anyone. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it's illegal to remix anything if no money is changing hands. And as Mike has pointed out, Jay-Z is all for people using his tracks how they see fit, as am I.

    So just enjoy the damn tunes! ;)

    Jason
    http://oneworkingmusician.com

     

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  16.  
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    Ben, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 8:33pm

    Man there is no way Jay Z was going to be anything but cool with it, he loves this shit. (See: The Gray Album) I wonder if that influenced the fact that Spek chose him to remix with?

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, see, it all depends. Pre-release music... you never know if everyone has actually signed off on it, or if this is an attempt to pressure them to get on board. Right now it appears to only be "tolerated", not encouraged.

    As for the music itself, I can safely say that like most mashups, it's way too busy and not all that musical.

     

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  18.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 14th, 2011 @ 10:12pm

    Re: No infringement...

    As far as "infringement" goes, I don't believe there is any going on here. I have paid for the rights to record all the Nick Drake tunes, so that's covered. And since Spek is giving away the recordings of the remixes, not selling them, I don't believe he's infringing on anyone. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it's illegal to remix anything if no money is changing hands. And as Mike has pointed out, Jay-Z is all for people using his tracks how they see fit, as am I.

    Heh. I need to correct you. :) It's still infringement, but the likelihood of anyone caring (i.e., doing something about it) is close to nil. Whether or not money is changing hands may be a factor in fair use analysis, but it doesn't make it any less infringing. That's a dumb rule, and most people think that what you said is accurate. But, tragically, it's not.

    So, yes, you're fine. I figured you properly licensed the Nick Drake stuff, but it's the Jay-Z stuff that's infringing. However, he's made it clear that he's okay with it, and in the 0.0000000000001% chance somehow any of this made it to court, you'd be pointing that out over and over and over again. Separately, *technically* Spek's remix of *your music* is infringing *your copyrights*, though, clearly you won't sue over that (and, conceivably, but again unlikely, the Nick Drake people could conceivably claim that your license didn't cover his use, though I don't know the details of the license).

    But, yeah, that's part of my point. There is, in fact, a whole lot of infringing, but thankfully, since everyone's cool with it, nothing happens. But that's only because everyone's cool with it. If one person isn't... that's when stuff gets unfortunate.

    So, yes, I'm enjoying the damn tune (and waiting for the rest...) but it's still useful to make the point about problems with today's laws. :)

     

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  19.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Feb 15th, 2011 @ 1:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    so the question is will thrill and honored mashed with "encouraged".

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2011 @ 6:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    or will it mash with "signing on the contract to let it be released".

     

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  21.  
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    Jason Parker, Feb 17th, 2011 @ 10:30am

    Now there's a video!

    For those of you worried about infringement this might just make your head explode, but Spek has now make the remix into a video! Check it out at http://oneworkingmusician.com/and-now-theres-a-video-jason-parker-quartet-nick-drake-jay-z-spekulati on

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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