Drummer Art Blakey led many great editions of the Jazz Messengers from the inaugural mid-'50s sessions until his death in the '90s. While arguments rage regarding which was his best, there is no doubt that the 1960-1961 unit figures in the debate. This wonderful six-disc set, notated with care and painstaking detail by Bob Blumenthal, covers studio and live sessions from March 6, 1960, to May 27, 1961, with the same personnel on all but two songs. Producer Michael Cuscuna used only first issue dates, and while he included some alternate takes, he did not litter the discs with second-rate vault material. They smoothly detail the band's evolution, cohesion, and maturation. This set, as with all Mosaic boxes, goes beyond essential. Get it post haste.
From the time of his first Blue Note recording in 1964 to his final session for the label in 1967, Sam Rivers made stunning progress as an avant-garde innovator. Starting with an inside/outside hard bop foundation, Rivers quickly took his music as far out as he could while maintaining a recognizable structure; his work fearlessly explored wildly dissonant harmonies and atonality, dense group interaction, cerebral rumination, and passionately intense, free-leaning solos.
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and 24 bit remastering. Featuring the work of obscure composer/pianist Todd Cochrane, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson's 1971 album Head On is a highly cerebral and atmospheric affair that is somewhat different than his other equally experimental '70s work. Although the album does feature more of the avant-garde jazz that Hutcherson was exploring during this period, Cochrane's material is heavily influenced by contemporary classical music, and accordingly Head On is more of an exercise in reflective, layered jazz than rambunctious freebop – though it does offer some of that, too.
Reissue. Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (fully compatible with standard CD player) and the latest remastering (24bit 192kHz). Bobby Hutcherson's second quartet session, Oblique, shares both pianist Herbie Hancock and drummer Joe Chambers with his first, Happenings (bassist Albert Stinson is a newcomer). However, the approach is somewhat different this time around. For starters, there's less emphasis on Hutcherson originals; he contributes only three of the six pieces, with one from Hancock and two from the typically free-thinking Chambers. And compared to the relatively simple compositions and reflective soloing on Happenings, Oblique is often more complex in its post-bop style and more emotionally direct (despite what the title may suggest).
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (fully compatible with standard CD player) and the latest remastering (24bit 192kHz). Carried by its almost impossibly infectious eponymous opening track, The Sidewinder helped foreshadow the sounds of boogaloo and soul-jazz with its healthy R&B influence and Latin tinge. While the rest of the album retreats to a more conventional hard bop sound, Morgan's compositions are forward-thinking and universally solid. Only 25 at the time of its release, Morgan was accomplished (and perhaps cocky) enough to speak of mentoring the great Joe Henderson, who at 26 was just beginning to play dates with Blue Note after getting out of the military.
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (fully compatible with standard CD player) and the latest remastering (24bit 192kHz). This long-lost Lee Morgan session was not released for the first time until it was discovered in the Blue Note vaults by Michael Cuscuna in 1984; it has still not been reissued on CD. Originals by Cal Massey, Duke Pearson ("Is That So") and Walter Davis, in addition to a couple of surprising pop tunes ("What Not My Love" and "Once in My Lifetime") and Morgan's title cut, are well-played by the quintet (which includes the trumpeter/leader, Hank Mobley on tenor, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Billy Higgins).
Reissue. Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. On Song for My Daughter, his third record for Blue Note, Jack Wilson "changed with the times," to paraphrase one of the record's songs. Like many of his peers on the label, Wilson pursued a pop direction as the '60s drew to a close, which meant he covered pop hits like "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" and "Stormy," and that he recorded the album with a large band augmented by a string section. It is a testament to Wilson's strengths as a pianist that he doesn't get lost in this heavy-handed setting and manages to contribute some typically graceful moments, including the lovely title song.