Listening to the DJ Logic remix of Billie Holiday’s “Glad To Be Unhappy,” clarifies the aesthetic that the NYC native was describing, during a recent phone call, the morning following a May concert festival date. When asked if he ever intellectualizes what he does as a turntablist and remixer, he quickly admits that he always does.
“I always try to find a certain sound or feel . . . add my signature -- that logical taste,” he says. That “logical taste,” as he dubs it, is clear on his tasteful remix of this lesser known Billie Holiday gem. Logic adds drums and jazzy overdubs, preserves aspects of the original orchestral arrangement and stretches the song out following her verse. His reinterpretation of “Unhappy” essentially carries the tune to a gorgeous, danceable place that the original, released in 1958, could never have achieved, all while preserving the ethereal quality of the jazz vocal legend’s voice.
Logic’s remix work has traversed many genres beyond jazz, but his take on songs by jazz legends like the aforementioned Holiday, as well as Nina Simone, on songs commissioned for Song Legacy compilations, has arguably garnered the Bronx native the most acclaim among critics. He brings his logical tastes and musical swag to the Canal Club this Friday for a solo DJ show that he says could last up to 2 hours. It’s a bit of a recent departure for the frequent collaborator, as he often tours with his nu jazz trio, Project Logic, and as a member of Global Noize, or with Headtronics.
“It’s improvisational . . . usually I’ll start out with the first few records that I know I’m going to spin . . . same thing when I’m playing with a band, I might start out with a beat, and then get a groove going from there,” he says, explaining that his solo sets are never the same. “You kind of create the soundtrack for the night.”
Born Jason Kibler in the NYC borough known as The Bronx, which just so happens to be considered the birthplace of hip-hop as a so named art-form, DJ Logic has been creating nightly soundtracks since the early '90s. He is largely considered the first turntablist to find real acceptance in jazz circles. And his various stints as a sideman and collaborator with artists such as Vernon Reid, John Mayer, Christian McBride and Medeski Martin & Wood, whom he still plays with, have bridged the previously assumed musical gap between hip-hop music and jazz. As has his influential solo albums, including 1999’s “Project Logic” and 2006’s “Zen of Logic,” released on indie label Rope A Dope Records.
Currently, he has a new Global Noize album set for a June release and concert dates lined up with his Headtronics and Project Logic groups. His show at the Canal Club is a rarity, as his tour dates rarely bring him to any parts of Virginia.
“It’s me, spinning some of the remixes that I’ve worked on and I’ll be spinning other records that I feel are appropriate for my set,” he says, when asked what concert attendees can expect here in RVA. “I look forward to coming to Richmond and having a good show.”DJ Logic, with special guests, performs at The Canal Club on Friday, May 17, doors open at 10 p.m., 1545 E. Cary Street. $10.00/$15.00. thecanalclub.com.