Arranging the music of one song...


Primary Game: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Nintendo , 1991, SNES), music by Koji Kondo

Posted 2003-10-05, evaluated by djpretzel

Well... YEAH. It's almost 5AM and I've been judging mixes for the past five hours. There's some great, really original stuff comin' your way soon, and this superb jazz Zelda 3 arrangement from Neskvartetten is just the beginning. Ahh, but what a beginning it is - as good as their initial submission, a happenin' Zelda jazz piece, was, this is better - with guest artist Erik Kristoffersson on Alto Sax, this piece takes the familiar title theme in totally new directions that are very mellow and smooth and just... jazz. This is the type of sound I think when I think of jazz, and the type of sound that's still totally, utterly out of the reach of any electronic emulations of any of the constituent elements. Yes, musicians of the world, you're still very safe from being replaced by machines. Probably always will be - the degree of control over instruments like these offered by combining the physical instrument with someone that clearly knows how to play it is awe-inspiring. The arrangement makes such good use of this as well - the drums are always doing something, the saxophone knows when to burn and when to hold back or fall out, the dirty organ is spot on, the bass follows beautifully, and nothing is out of place. Oh, and it's mixed great as well, with the sax very foregound for an intimate feeling. I can picture this being played in a Soho coffeeshop with some poet doing a reading, fully unaware that she was performing her work overtop music from Zelda :) This is my personal favorite arrangement of this oft-mixed theme, and there've been some damn good ones. If I were Koji Kondo and I'd written the original melody, I'd be absolutely thrilled someone did this to it, without hesitation. There's not much else to say, really - the maturity is there to a degree that sets a benchmark for jazz arrangements which almost makes me feel like not trying. Even if the instruments here were emulations, the arrangement itself would still be exemplary and creative. If you don't like jazz, it's certainly not gonna win you over, 'cause it's more "jazz" than most genre pieces on the site, but I dug it quite a bit, and consider it a classic for the theme and for the site. Highly recommended.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2022-06-23 15:22:53

This is excellent! While I have to admit I prefer the kind of jazz that is more melodic like this mix was in the beginning, there is an undeniable smoothness to this one. Certainly would recommend this to Zelda fans who enjoy a little jazz from time to time.

on 2010-12-07 22:01:11

This is pretty much the ultimate jazz take on this song I can imagine - well done! It's pretty much an instant favorite, even after all this time.

on 2009-11-27 14:49:37

i think the only thing that could improve this great arrangement is a little more room reverb on the sax.

Solid solos that make fun and subtle references the source, good performances all around, and a great length, with interesting variations. Really nice stuff. Be sure to check this one out, especially if you are a jazz fan.

on 2009-01-17 22:00:17

Vince Guaraldi would be proud.

This and Neskvartetten are freaking awesome.

An absolute must download for any jazz and/or Zelda fanatic.

on 2009-01-06 22:36:49

Appreciate the tones. Reminds a little like Cowboy Bebop (well for a reason a style) but hey, that's good. Nice work.

on 2007-03-30 11:28:07

LinkGoesToNewOrleans was pretty rockin'...but THIS...just, damn. It's my favorite piece from Nev, it goes a bit more into the upbeat direction compared to the trademark dreary style of most other pieces from them.

on 2006-10-30 23:07:18

Simply amazing.

on 2006-01-07 21:23:32

This has a really warm acoustic sound to it.

Like the creative liberties the sax takes with the melody.

It works perfectly, and really sets this mix apart.

I also like the piano (not sure which kind it is).

In short, a great mix. Different in a GOOD way.

on 2005-01-14 17:53:08

I never was a jazz fan. But with all these great zelda jazz songs, I think I'm becoming one...

on 2003-11-09 14:12:13

Heh, this is nice. I was introduced to jazz at an early age, so I have pretty much grown up with it. This is a pretty good jazz tune, and being a Legend of Zelda fan I am, this worked out great. Nice to see a jazz tune every now and then on the site.

on 2003-10-22 16:13:09

I love this one! Such a smooth, jazzy mix of the original. I had to have ths one! I will say, however, when listening to this piece it is indeed lacking "something," but I'm not too sure what. It just seems a bit bland. It's very good, still. A welcomed addition. There's a lot of Zelda jazz here. Hmm...

on 2003-10-17 02:34:16

Without question one of the best remixes on the site. We be JAZZ!

That sax is SEXY. Consummate musicianship. Brilliant improvisation. As djpretzel points out, once machines can do THAT, we musicians are really out of place. The live renditions are almost /always/ my favorites and this one's awesomeness is... super great.

Leah brings up a good idea... I started imagining this as bop instead of something cool and smooth as done here. I think that interpretation has even more promise than this one! (Maybe it's because I just got done watching Cowboy Bebop? You tell me. :-P)

on 2003-10-10 22:00:16

this mix was well done. I like it a lot, but Im getting tired of zelda tunes only in jazz...

on 2003-10-09 21:29:11

I've got a friend who works in a jazz/blues bar here in the city, and compared to the stuff I've heard in there, this remix lacks "zing." This is really mellow, smooth jazz...not bad at all, but something I would feel inclined to talk over, instead of sitting back, shutting up, and paying attention to. Lovely background chill-out jazz, but I was hoping for something with more of a groove like Neskvartetten's "Link Goes To New Orleans." Anyway, it's definitely a well-produced and well-played piece, and excellent for what it is.

on 2003-10-09 00:37:47

As a newcomer to the forums (long time OC fan tho) i'd have to say, I seriously dig this piece. It is very well arranged, and the only thing i could say that i would have liked to see towards the end, around 3:15, would be a drum and/or bass solo improv before returning to the main theme. In my opinion, that would have been a nice touch :) But as i said, I dig the piece. Overall, I think the piece is well constructed, and is a most enjoyable listen :) *saves to his HD* ^_^


Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Nintendo , 1991, SNES)
Music by Koji Kondo

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