I've been listening to a lot of this guy lately: Cory Henry. As far as I'm concerned, Cory is one of the most interesting players to come along in the last few years. His roots are in gospel piano and organ, at which he excelled at a young enough age to qualify as a prodigy. Since then he has expanded into jazz, rock, and R&B styles among many others. While Cory has chops for days and can burn up the keyboard on command, I think that he is equally notable with regard to his musical conceptions.
Let's take a look at his cover of "What's Going On." This is a song that has been covered countless times using the templates from both Marvin Gaye's original recording and Donny Hathaway's keyboard friendly live arrangement. Cory decided to forgo both of these approaches and adapted the tune to what I would describe as an Afro Jazz style.
Listen to how he states the theme in both hands with nearly no embellishment, in a tight detached style that is antithetical to Marvin's flowing delivery. After the theme has been stated Cory drops Marvin's original harmonies entirely in favor of a I-IV progression straight out of sub-Saharan Africa's traditional pop music. Likewise his solo lines, while florid and up-tempo, are primarily based on the tonic scale rather than the underlying chromatic harmonies of jazz. Cory sets out the concept and sticks with it.
To experiment with this kind of arranging and stylistic fusion, take one of your favorite tunes and arrange it in a style that differs from the original with regard to tempo, rhythms, and harmonic complexity. The goal is to choose a style that puts the song in a completely different light for you and your listener, and to commit to that choice in every aspect of the arrangement. This is one of many concepts where the end result will always be different based on each musician's individual decisions and taste. (See Manfred Mann's "Blinded by the Light" for another example of this process.)
Check out the full performance below.