Jazzers Who Rock – Covers of Aerosmith, Hendrix, Radiohead

One of the unexpected pleasures of blogging is not just posting my own stuff but conversing with other bloggers on my site or theirs. And sometimes inspiring them and vice-versa.

Case in point: I recently posted an Aerosmith series. Fellow UK blogger tonushill (Mumbling About Music) then mentioned he was inspired by that series to go back and listen to some Aerosmith stuff and post his Spotify list.

On listening to it, I realized that I’d heard one of the songs – “Seasons of Wither” – in a jazzy, piano version. I posted it there, he dug it and then I got to thinking – hey, another idea for an occasional series – Jazzers Who Rock!

So without further ado, here is that first song, “Seasons of Wither” as performed by Berklee-educated Boston-based pianist Yoko Miwa. For reasons of space and clutter, I’ll post the interpretations here and link to the originals:

Next up is the Turtle Island Quarter about whom I blogged a while back. In the intervening time, I had a chance to see them live at a small venue in New Hampshire. As good as they were, disappointingly, it looks like their current leader is less a rock fan and more into traditional string quartet stuff. Pity.

Anyway, here they are from 2010 doing  Hendrix’ version of Bob Dylan‘s “All Along the Watchtower.” Jimi’s original here:

And for you Radiohead fans – which most assuredly includes yours truly – what better song to radically reinterpret than “Paranoid Android” from the classic OK Computer? Yes indeed!

In 2016, Thomas Yu was unanimous winner of the prestigious 7th Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition, taking home the gold medal as well as Press and Audience Awards. But the funny thing is this is Yu’s avocation. He is actually a dentist! With a private practice in Canada. Go figure! Original (actually live version from Glastonbury) here:

14 thoughts on “Jazzers Who Rock – Covers of Aerosmith, Hendrix, Radiohead

    1. Agreed on all counts. BTW, I tried to reply (twice ) to your Bowie post with my own list. It says it’s posting but just disappears. I recall you were saying you were encountering similar issues. This was within an hour of my first reply. Using Chrome FWIW.

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  1. Nice post – and thanks for the nod. It’s always a bold move to tack a very, genre-specific tune and transplant / re-imagine it. I’m willing to bet for each of these there’s as many misses and I’ve heard plenty of duff ones where simply plodding along slowly on the piano and intoning is considered sufficient (Tori Amos is a repeat offender there).
    That Thomas Yu one really comes into its own around the one minute mark, great cover!

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  2. Yeah I so wonder how people take songs that we are almost deathly familiar with and make them sound like they wrote it. Fantastic! And yeah, just after the 1:00 minute mark in Yu’s interpretation, he hits one of the most famous riffs in all of rock. And nails it!

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  3. Terrific post, Jim.

    That Yoko Miwa version of Seasons of Wither is fantastic – much better than the original in my opinion. The Turtle Quartet do an amazing job of All Along The Watchtower, one of my all-time favourite tracks. They really do manage to capture the essence of the Hendrix version. And I’ve never seen a cello used as a bass before, either. I’m less convinced by Paranoid Android. Solo piano just doesn’t cut it and, anyway, the track itself doesn’t appeal that much to me.

    Looking forward to more Jazzers Who Rock – if you have them.

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  4. Hey, thanks. Yeah, they do a great job across the board. And if you liked Turtle Island’s “Watchtower,” you might like the cross-referenced post to their “Crossroads.” I note it here just in case:

    And yes, there will definitely be more Jazzers who Rock down the road!

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  5. Charlie Hunter Trio. “Come As You Are” off Bing, Bing, Bing! Being a guitar picker you might dig it. I like the studio version but other good ones out there. (I think I heard you say you weren’t a big fan of the Nirvana thing but Charlie and the boys make it heir own). Time flys it feels like yesterday that I first heard this.

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  6. No biggie. You probably read enough blogs that maybe you were thinking of someone else. Listening to Charlie Hunter now. Cool. That’s the style I want to start playing in this year. Not at that level, of course, any more than I can play blues like SRV. But good enough for an amateur. Thanks.

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  7. I really like Charlie and that style. Like I said that song hooked me first time i heard it. Very cool that you are even attempting to tackle that style. (To tell you the truth CB peeks in on a handful. Yours and maybe 5 others regularly. I still find what I found back in the day. Mainstream city still rules the day. Nice to find some takes off the beaten track).

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      1. Just happy to pass on music that I find cool. No credit necessary. Obviously you dug Charlie’s licks. The trio kind of has that Dave Brubeck sound, switch out piano for guitar. Love the sax and the drums. Catchy huh? Charlie is the real deal. Check out his library. You being a player, how’s Charlie stack up to some of those jazz guys. His playing sounds great to CB plus his choices.

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  8. He’s really good but all jazzers are really good. Just to BE a jazz player you have to be really, really good. So it’s kind of like comparing race car drivers. They all have to be able to drive 200MPH. But they’re not all ever going to be Dale Earnhardt, you know?

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