Iris Ornig Reimagines Michael Jackson

Bassist and composer Iris Ornig’s latest project is

​”Iris Ornig Reimagines Michael Jackson”

As a kid living in Germany, Iris Ornig was a huge fan of Michael—and she still is! She remembers watching him on TV and copying his dance movements, singing along and posters of Michael Jackson hanging all over her bedroom. He was truly a master of his style of music, as well as a supremely creative dance innovator.

Towards the end of 2014 she decided to work on arrangements of Michael’s hit songs to honor his creative spirit through jazz. She began to twist tunes, shift rhythms, explode arrangements and explore new harmonies. It was a real challenge for her as a musician, composer and arranger. Her goal was to interpret Michael’s music in brand new ways to honor the “King of Pop”, as a jazz artist.

” … I scratched ideas, turned notes and rhythm upside down and towards the end—I began to doubt myself. One minute I played my arrangements and thought they were great and if MJ would be alive he would certainly approve of them. And the next moment I played the same arrangements and I thought, “What am I doing?!!” I realized composing your own songs is so much easier. You can justify why they have a certain kind of rhythm, vibe, melody, or instrumentation and you can make them work the way you want. But to work on someone else’s great songs and bring something new and beautiful to them–that is an almost impossible challenge!”

‘Iris Ornig is able to accurately capture Jackson’s ingenuity in crafting infectious melodies that also are deceptively simple. Iris Ornig has infused Michael’s hit songs with a solid jazz sensibility and improvisational rigor. Doing so she has not fallen in the trap many do when they reinterpret pop music, namely creating insipid and safe atmospheric instrumentals. This is a superb effort that fuses her respect for Jackson’s artistry and her own creative energy without making compromises. (Hrayr Attrarian – Jazz Journalist)