The Jazz Fest chose a new path for exploration this year with series Re:Creation, giving artists the opportunity to revisit a music repertoire and pay tribute to a musician of their choice.

To impersonate is one thing, to reinterpret and infuse your own expression is a completely different approach. When it comes to covers, denaturing is an option and arguably, a good one.  

Young folk-rock prodigy Jesse Mac Cormack opted for Muddy Waters, which seems like an obvious option, turns out it was a fortuitous good fit. If the crowd was then divided in two, the fans of one and of the other, they did not refrain from expressing their appreciation, even seated. For the musician and his band, it was not quite an effort of deconstruction rather of rendering with a different sound, their own. The result defeated some stereotypes of the blues that is Muddy Waters’—the roaring voice , the rough around the edges attitude, the ubiquitous guitar riffs, the classic blues drumming style, instead keeping the water clean and very pleasurable to bathe in.

Gritty renditions found themselves coated with textures and an unclouded tone, courtesy of a double on percussions (including guest Andrew Barr), a pump organ, the responsive work of an harmonica player and the great work of guests (Brad Barr on guitar, Gabrielle Shonk and Bernard Adamus on vocals) and musicians whose loads of fun jamming is palpable. It keeps the raw, even within the signature and always arresting pitch of McCormack, the contrast works well even with lyrics that absolutely did not stand the test of time. Conclusively, a 12-bar structure is a great playground jamming within an unpracticed frame.

If tribune shows can be obtuse, such a fun exercise on variation was far from being any aggravating on any level.

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About The Author

Christelle Saint-Julien
Collaborator - RREVERB

Christelle is a Montreal-based writer, musician and translator based and born in Montreal. An hyperactive brainard, her first love really is music. She makes a living putting words together in different contexts.