With his 8th album, Toronto-based jazz pianist Ron Davis has taken a very different approach to the jazz standard. In a very deliberate effort to avoid the obvious jazz conventions, Davis’ new album Blue Modules is almost all covers; but not the songs you’d expect on a jazz album. In fact, Blue Modules is at times more steeped in pop, soul and funk than jazz. For modern jazz fans, it almost seems like The Beatles and Stevie Wonder are becoming the new standards. Davis takes on less obvious tracks from both artists (‘I Will’ and a driving, upbeat version of ‘You Can’t Do That’ from The Beatles, as well as ‘Don’t Worry ‘Bout a Thing’ and ‘Living for the City’ from Wonder.) Davis also has a nice sense of humour about his work too, covering the Sesame Street classic ‘Mahna Mahna’, doing a surf-tinged cover of Elvis’ ‘Viva La Vegas’, and turns Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Child’ into a smoky, film noir lounge track. The most surprising cover here is XTC’s : ‘Making Plans for Nigel’, which Davis takes to an expansive, spacy place. The best covers are the recognizable ones that go to a place that is the Ron Davis’ own. Davis puts his own twist on the well-known songs consistently throughout the album. This is an excellent jazz release that is challenging and accessible at the same time.