Big-toned tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano is a truly unpredictable talent, constantly pushing into new directions and contexts for his playing. On FOLK ART, his 21st recording for Blue Note and first album of entirely original material, Lovano debuts a new band, Us Five. With two drummers, Lovano can utilize and explore both funk and Afro-Cuban rhythms and work them into a context that includes hard bop and the post-John Coltrane era innovations. Simply put, this is a powerful, rhythm-charged session where leader and band push the envelope without leaving the audience behind.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. A great Art Blakey lineup here, as usual – filled with fire from younger musicians who are really finding their voice in the Jazz Messengers – a group that includes Terence Blanchard on trumpet, Donald Harrison on alto, Jean Toussaint on tenor, and Mulgrew Miller on piano!
Centered around the Byrd/Adams Blue Note dates Byrd in Hand, Chant, Royal Flush, The Cat Walk, and Off to the Races, Mosaic's Complete Blue Note Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Studio Sessions finds the Detroit natives at the top of their game during 1959-1962. Writing and performing some of the most original and tight hard bop around, Byrd and Adams led a variety of combos that featured the likes of Herbie Hancock (his first session), Wynton Kelly, Duke Pearson (who also contributed material), Charlie Rouse, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins. From distinct covers ("Lover Come Back to Me") to seamlessly complex originals ("Bronze Dance"), Byrd's pure-toned trumpet and Adams' angular baritone unexpectedly make a perfect match. And beyond a wealth of sides that prove the point, the collection also features – in typically thorough and classy Mosaic fashion – some stunning session photos by Blue Note lensman Francis Wolff and an extensive essay by Bob Blumenthal. A hard bop experience of the highest order.
THE COMPLETE QUARTETS WITH SONNY CLARK includes the albums NIGERIA, GOODEN'S CORNER and OLEO as well as 3 additional tracks. This two-disc set gathers together the cuts for three Blue Note sessions teaming Grant Green with Sonny Clark. The first, NIGERIA, was originally release posthumously in 1980 and features Green's only collaboration with drummer Art Blakey. GOODEN'S CORNER and OLEO were both only released in Japan in 1979 and 1980, respectively. The latter two sessions featured Louis Hayes on drums along with Sam Jones, the bassist for all three albums. Luckily these sessions have been carefully restored and release for all to hear.
Most of the titles on this album are derived from Thelonious Monk's vast catalog of bop standards. Both co-leaders are at the peak of their respective prowess with insightful interpretations of nearly half a dozen inspired performances from this incarnation of the Blakey-led Jazz Messengers. This combo features Art Blakey (drums), Johnny Griffin (tenor sax), Bill Hardman (trumpet), and Spanky Debrest (bass). Immediately, Hardman ups the ante with a piledriving lead during "Evidence" that underscores the heavy-hitting nature of this particular jazz confab. Monk counters with some powerful and inspired runs that are sonically splintered by the enthusiastic – if not practically percussive – chord progressions and highly logistic phrasings from the pianist. The inherent melodic buoyancy on "In Walked Bud" contains a springboard-like quality, with Griffin matching Monk's bounce measure for measure.
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and 24 bit remastering. Early Blue Note work from the legendary Bobbi Humphrey – a session cut before she hooked up with producer Larry Mizell, but one that's still got a righteously soulful vibe! The arrangements here are by Wade Marcus, but he still has the great idea of giving Bobbi a bit more expanded sound in the background – a full mix of sounds that lets her flute step out in the lead and find its own soulful space on the solos – all with a wonderful style that definitely marks Humphrey as one of the freshest jazz flute talents in years! The other players are all pretty hip too – and include Lee Morgan on trumpet and Billy Harper on tenor – who'd both played with Bobbi on one of Lee's late Blue Note dates – and titles include a version of Eddie Harris' "Set Us Free", plus "Sad Bag", "Don't Knock My Funk", "Journey To Morocco", and "Ain't No Sunshine".
One of our favorite all-time records, and a real lost album on Blue Note! Eddie Gale leads this group of righteous singers and musicians through five fantastic tracks of soulful chanting and hard jazz playing that never goes too far out, but always threatens to break free of its own chains – soaring to the skies on wings of freedom and spirituality! Gale's trumpet rings hard and loud, and the vocal arrangements never verge on sentimentality, but manage to convey a ton of soul with an incredibly righteous approach that's never been duplicated again! Imagine Donald Byrd's vocal group albums recorded for Strata East – or a hipper version of Billy Harper's Capra Black – and you've only got part of the picture! Titles include "The Rain", "Fulton Street", "The Coming Of Gwilu", and "A Walk With Thee".
Bassist Ron Carter varies the personnel often enough to keep one's interest throughout this CD. Carter, who contributed six of the ten compositions (which alternate with four familiar standards) takes his share of bass solos but also showcases pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba (who is pretty restrained throughout) on the opening "Mr. Bow-Tie" and allocates a generous amount of solo space on some selections to trumpeter Edwin Russell (inspired by Miles Davis but possessing his own fire) and Javon Jackson, who often sounds like a close relative of Joe Henderson.
Jimmy Smith brought the Hammond organ into hard bop and jazz in the 1950s, and his piano-fast solo runs on the instrument have never been equaled. This warm set from Blue Note Records, the label where Smith built most of his impressive legacy, selects eight of his performances for the label, including a 20-minute (and ten second) version of "The Sermon," the bouncing "Back at the Chicken Shack," and a fun romp through "See See Rider," among other delights, making this a quick introduction to the peak creative era of this one-of-a-kind jazz artist's long career.