Although never formally signed, an oral agreement between John Coltrane and Blue Note Records founder Alfred Lion was indeed honored on Blue Train – Coltrane's only collection of sides as a principal artist for the venerable label. The disc is packed solid with sonic evidence of Coltrane's innate leadership abilities…
Although pianist Hank Jones gets first billing on this two-disc set from Lone Hill Jazz, it actually contains three complete Tyree Glenn-led sessions that were originally released on LP by Roulette Records as At the Embers, At the Roundtable and At the London House in 1957, 1958 and 1961. Featuring Glenn on trombone and vibraphone running through swing and bop standards backed by a world-class rhythm section of Jones, Milt Hinton and Jo Jones, Quintet/Sextet Complete Recordings makes a fine introduction to an often over-looked and completely professional jazz player.
A hard-swinging cooker from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – recorded during the landmark year of 1957 – when Blakey's group was open to recording for a number of different labels, in a number of different settings! The set was originally done for the west coast stalwart Pacific Jazz, but it's got a sound that's much more in the hardbop mode of the New York scene – all the fire and intensity that Blakey first cooked up for Blue Note, cast out with a slight sense of openness here in the less iconic setting. Players include Jackie McLean on alto, Bill Hardman on trumpet, and Sam Dockery on piano – and the album's right up there with Vik/RCA, Savoy, and Chess material they cut at the time.
Mose Alliso R.I.P. Influential blues and jazz pianist Mose Allison, whose songs were covered by an array of rock veterans, died Tuesday at the age of 89 of natural causes. Although Mose Allison is perhaps best known for his enjoyably idiosyncratic vocal style, he is first and foremost a marvelous piano player with a unique style pitched somewhere between a New Orleans bordello and the rhythmic and harmonic experimentation of Thelonious Monk or Sun Ra. This well-chosen 1966 compilation (released after Allison had split for Atlantic Records) pulls together ten of his best instrumentals from four of his six Prestige albums, and it makes a strong case for Allison as one of the most inventive piano players and composers of his generation.