180 Gram Vinyl Record
|No. of Discs:||2|
180-gram double LP
An album's worth of Cohen songs by an extraordinary line-up of guest vocalists!
"Leonard Cohen had been a friend since 1982 or so, and in the last 15 years of his life, he became a close friend," says producer Larry Klein. "He was possibly the wisest and funniest friend that I had, and someone that I enjoyed, immensely, in every way. After he passed away, I found myself frequently covering his songs with other artists that I was working with. One reason, of course, is that the songs are so good-in a certain way, Leonard is the best pop songwriter ever-but the other reason was that it helped keep him in the air around me."
So Klein decided to assemble an album's worth of Cohen songs, matching an extraordinary line-up of guest vocalists from different genres with an equally impressive group of jazz-based musicians — or, as he puts it, "a group of the most prescient and forward-looking musicians in the jazz world." The resulting collection, Here It Is: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, is ultimately reminiscent of the concept that guided his production of Herbie Hancock's 2007 album River: The Joni Letters,
Bringing in artists such as Norah Jones, Peter Gabriel, Gregory Porter, Sarah McLachlan, Luciana Souza, James Taylor, Iggy Pop, Mavis Staples, David Gray, and Nathaniel Rateliff to collaborate with the core band — guitarist Bill Frisell, saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins, pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Nate Smith with additional contributions from Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar and Larry Goldings on organ — Klein set out to create a more "conversational" musical setting for Cohen's lyrics.
"What I was endeavoring to do was to not get in the way of the poetry," he says, "because that was something that bothered Leonard about a lot of the covers that were done of his music, and even with his own versions of the songs. So I was approaching it with the musicians in a way that hopefully served as more of an underscore, more cinematically, and not something that would obscure or in any way take attention away from the poems."
The album's 12 tracks offer a stunning range of Cohen's compositions, with songs drawn from his beloved 1967 debut Songs of Leonard Cohen ("Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye") all the way up to selections from his final album, You Want It Darker, released just days before his death in 2016. The set covers some of his best-known classics ("Suzanne," "Famous Blue Raincoat") and less familiar deep cuts, all given new life through thoughtful and unexpected arrangements and performances. To add to the challenge, the album was recorded during lockdown, with voices laid down in studios from England to Chicago, Canada to Miami.
|1. Steer Your Way – Norah Jones|
|2. Here It Is – Peter Gabriel|
|3. Suzanne – Gregory Porter|
|1. Hallelujah – Sarah McLachlan|
|2. Avalanche – Immanuel Wilkins|
|3. Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye – Luciana Souza|
|1. Coming Back To You – James Taylor|
|2. You Want It Darker – Iggy Pop|
|3. If It Be Your Will – Mavis Staples|
|1. Seems So Long Ago, Nancy – David Gray|
|2. Famous Blue Raincoat – Nathaniel Rateliff|
|3. Bird On The Wire – Bill Frisell|