I dig tribute albums because I lose a lot of sleep agonizing over questions like “What if Morbid Angel played a Slayer song?” and “What if Slayer were a string quartet?”
Every time a tribute album comes along and answers such a question, that’s one less sheep I have to count before I black out. While I don’t usually lose nearly as much sleep over Pavement as I do over Slayer, a heavyweight jazz quartet featuring saxophonist James Carter has recently given me a lot to think about with Gold Sounds, featuring eight interpretations of Pavement’s more well known tunes.
It is the rare tribute album that changes the way you hear the music it celebrates: ‘Here’ sounds like it’s been longing all this time for someone to come around and play it as a jazz ballad, and ‘My First Mine’ sounds exuberant flying its free jazz freak-flag. Carter and company make Gold Sounds work by showing cuts like ‘Summer Babe’ the kind of love jazz people usually reserve for Cole Porter tunes. Now if the Jicks would just cover ‘Love for Sale’, maybe I could get some sleep.