First Listen: Modern Groove Assembly wows us with jazzy Mahalia remix

(May 15, 2017) -- In 1958, the great Duke Ellington issued his Brown and Beige album, featuring legendary Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. Ellington had originally performed the extensive suite that became that album in 1943 and it was not received well. But he returned to it, reordered and with some new music, in 1958, and he created a classic. The most revered song from that album was the slow, spiritual number "Come Sunday."

Flash forward to 2017 and the mixmasters called Modern Groove Assembly have taken the vocals from that song and added a cool 70s, jazz vibe to turn it is into something entirely different -- something wonderful. MGA is a collective of musicians and singers led by producer and keyboardist Steve Catanzaro. Some of the MGA projects in the past have featured longtime SoulTracks faves Sy Smith and Teri Tobin. 

(May 15, 2017) -- In 1958, the great Duke Ellington issued his Brown and Beige album, featuring legendary Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. Ellington had originally performed the extensive suite that became that album in 1943 and it was not received well. But he returned to it, reordered and with some new music, in 1958, and he created a classic. The most revered song from that album was the slow, spiritual number "Come Sunday."

Flash forward to 2017 and the mixmasters called Modern Groove Assembly have taken the vocals from that song and added a cool 70s, jazz vibe to turn it is into something entirely different -- something wonderful. MGA is a collective of musicians and singers led by producer and keyboardist Steve Catanzaro. Some of the MGA projects in the past have featured longtime SoulTracks faves Sy Smith and Teri Tobin. 

Of the new remix 'Come Sunday' Catanzaro says "My understanding of was that (composer) Duke Ellington was so moved by Mahalia Jackson's vocals that he stopped playing behind her. She just goes off by herself so there's an incredible acapella section. I started playing around with the vocal, seeing if I could lock it into a groove. The problem was, she was very free with her timing and it needed a lot of editing. I couldn't get it to sound natural but after working at it a long time, I got it to where it felt right."

Catanzaro continues, "I've sent the track to some of my vocalist friends. Like all artists we can sometimes be competitive with each other but they've all been 100% positive. One told me that Mahalia's power and sound literally moved her to tears. For me, I can say after hours listening to and editing the acapella track, I never got bored with it. It stayed fresh. Her voice is really a miracle, it's like MLK Jr said, a voice like this comes along just once in a millennium." 

We think Catanzaro and MGA have done something special. Check out the MGA Mahalia Mellowsmooth Mix of "Come Sunday" below and take a moment to relish this entirely new take on a classic.

Mahalia Jackson - "Come Sunday" (MGA Mellowsmooth Mix)

 

Leave a comment!