New Jersey’s Mint 400 Records has long been an indie rock institution in places like Jersey City and Asbury Park. However a few years ago the label launched an exciting subsidiary, Raining Music, focused on instrumental music and jazz. The label boasts everything from avant-garde jazz from Boston like Clamb to classic Hard Bop players like Cincinnati’s Greg Chako. The concept the label came up with to get people more familiar with their roster was to have a compilation of standards. Mint 400 though, always known to go against the grain left it open to the artists to interpret that. Some artists such as Boston’s City of Four took the jazz classic “Jordu”, made famous by Stan Getz and Chet Baker, and put their own funky spin on it. The same could be said for New Jersey group The Funky JC’s who put a funk spin on “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” the track made famous by Cannonball Adderly. Some bands kept their tracks more traditional and others took tracks and spun them on their heads. A couple bands like Chicago’s Yellow Pills took a whole different approach, taking Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” and turning it into a classic sounding jazz standard style. While others like New Jersey’s The Bitter Chills took the standard “Fly Me To The Moon” and smashed it up with Van Morrison’s “Moondance” with a hint of The Police “Walking On The Moon” to close it out and then titled it “Fly Me To The Moondance”.
The label’s artists came up with some wonderful interpretations of songs you may know from Frank Sinatra to Ornette Coleman. As always, the label came up with an interesting way to present the material.