First Listen: Morgan James Five-Fingers Maroon 5’s “Maps”

Share this article

    Released this fall, Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox’s Historical Misappropriation is the kind of eclectic mix of Tin Pan Alley era jazz productions of modern-day classics that might have made their way onto the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 take on The Great Gatsby. The results are sometimes extraordinary, sometimes not, but never dull and consistently fresh for the open-minded in their take of songs you believe you already know, from Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” to Miche Braden’s swing take on “Livin’ On A Prayer.” There’s even a near comical take of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” that is made sultry and performed straight-faced by Ariana Savalas. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is definitely worth a curious listen.

    Released this fall, Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox’s Historical Misappropriation is the kind of eclectic mix of Tin Pan Alley era jazz productions of modern-day classics that might have made their way onto the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 take on The Great Gatsby. The results are sometimes extraordinary, sometimes not, but never dull and consistently fresh for the open-minded in their take of songs you believe you already know, from Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” to Miche Braden’s swing take on “Livin’ On A Prayer.” There’s even a near comical take of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” that is made sultry and performed straight-faced by Ariana Savalas. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is definitely worth a curious listen.

    However, the undeniable standout belongs to a Broadway veteran turned studio chanteuse, the Julliard-trained Morgan James, who tries her hand at three neo-classics, including: “Really Don’t Care,” “Break Free” and Maroon V’s “Maps.” A Berry Gordy discovery who performed in his hit show, Motown: The Musical, Morgan James’ precision singing can be heard on her 2014 Epic Records studio debut, Hunter, as well as her 2012 Nina Simone tribute concert, Morgan James Live. Retro soul and Northern soul lovers will find a lot to love about this strong, yet surprisingly restrained version of a Maroon V tune that finally lets its hair loose at the call and response ending. Give it a doo-wop whirl and then go cop it on iTunes.

    By L. Michael Gipson

    Morgan James - "Maps"