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!
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.
Blue Note released a five CD anniversary collection in 1989. Uncertain if these were sold individually or in a box set or both.
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and 24bit remastering. Includes an alternate take of "Blue Train" for the first time in the world. 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. He not only addresses the tunes at hand, but also simultaneously reinvents himself as a multifaceted interpreter of both hard bop as well as sensitive balladry – touching upon all forms in between.
Gil Evans released two records on World Pacific in 1958 and 1959. They were among his earliest dates as a leader. Gil Evans & Ten was issued by Prestige in 1957, but these dates stand out more. New Bottle, Old Wine was the first of the pair and the band included four trumpets, a trio of trombones, French horn (played by Julius Watkins), a pair of tubas, Cannonball Adderley as the lone saxophonist, and a rhythm section that included either Philly Joe Jones or Art Blakey on drums, Paul Chambers on bass, and Chuck Wayne on guitar.
While not a universally praised piece of the Art Blakey discography, The African Beat is quite engaging. Yusef Lateef is the only horn player, featured on oboe, flute, tenor sax, cow horn, and thumb piano with Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass, but trombonist Curtis Fuller is only heard playing tympani – it was that kind of session. The drum ensemble includes Chief Bey, along with five other percussionists on conboro, log, and bata drums with penny whistles, gongs, congas, and African maracas. This is reminiscent of Lateef's more exotic sessions from the same time period, but quite unlike other Blue Note releases from the early '60s.
The third of three volumes chronicling Pepper's complete Aladdin recordings, Blue Note's Art of Pepper, Vol. 3 finds the West Coast alto saxophonist in top form over the course of 12 stunning cuts. Recorded in 1957, the set takes in both Pepper originals ("Holiday Flight," "Surf Ride") and choice standards ("Long Ago and Faraway," "Without a Song"). There's also a fine cover of the rare Bud Powell cut "Webb City." Topped off with excellent work by pianist Carl Perkins, bassist Ben Tucker, and drummer Chuck Flores, this collection is a must-have for all Pepper fans.
One of the greatest West Coast jazz LPs of all time! Art Pepper plays beautiful spiralling alto lines with a tight quartet that includes Russ Freeman on piano, Chuck Flores on drums, and Ben Tucker on bass. The whole thing swings in a way that's tough to find on some of Pepper's other albums from the time, and the track list includes "Dianne's Dilemma", "Blues In", "Blues Out", and "Cool Bunny".
Blue Note's The Return of Art Pepper: The Complete Art Pepper Aladdin Recordings compiles the 13 final masters that the alto saxophonist recorded for Aladdin between August 1956 and January 1957. These are titled The Return of Art Pepper, since they were recorded shortly after he completed a jail sentence in 1956. As a result, Pepper's chops are a little rusty, but you can hear that he still has a passion for playing, and he does improve over the course of these tracks. For serious Pepper fans, it's worth a listen, but for less dedicated fans, there are better places to become acquainted with his work.