Eric Truffaz has covered a lot of ground - both literally and metaphorically - since releasing his first album on the Blue Note label in 1996. Recorded in several locations but cut to sound like a single concert, Face-a-Face reveals the success of this artist who, with consistency and determination, has travelled a long road to success that has been filled with detours, long stretches in the fast lane and occasional pit stops, but which has never veered away from the source of his originality and the happiness of his waking dream. For Truffaz, each concert is a chance to meet his public "face à face". And it's this exchange between musicians and their audiences - the source of his inspiration - that Truffaz has set out…
Issued just after his landmark two-week June 1998 gig at the Village Vanguard and subsequent U.S./Canada tour, Chucho Valdйs' first album for Blue Note bears out a lot of the hype surrounding this hugely gifted Cuban pianist. Unlike many of today's younger Cuban keyboard hotshots, Valdйs not only has great technical chops and musical erudition, he manages to stay closely tied to his Cuban rhythmic roots. Thus, he employs a Cuban percussionist Roberto Vizcaino Guillot along with the standard bass (Alain Pйrez Rodriguez) and drums (Raъl Pнсeda Roque), which dramatically increases the possibilities for rhythmic experiments. Valdes more often than not is all over the keyboard, comfortable with everything from Ravel-ian classical complexity to Bill Evans' introspection to Cecil Taylor-like crunches.
On his fourth studio effort and first for Blue Note Records, 2017's Parking Lot Symphony, New Orleans singer, songwriter, and brass wizard Troy Andrews (aka Trombone Shorty) fully embraces the organic '70s-style R&B he’s heretofore only touched on. Ever since officially debuting in 2010 with Backatown, Andrews has moved ever closer to that '70s soul aesthetic with each subsequent album. Backatown even featured contributions from both Lenny Kravitz and legendary New Orleans pianist Allen Toussaint. In fact, his previous effort, 2013's Say That to Say This, had a similarly old-school bent courtesy of neo-soul master and co-producer Raphael Saadiq. But for Parking Lot Symphony, Andrews dives into the sound full-force, paired with producer Chris Seefried (Fitz & the Tantrums, Haley Reinhart, Andra Day) on a set of songs that bring to mind the earthy, vinyl-laden vibe of '70s artists like New Orleans own the Meters..
This unusual set was one of the most successful uses of a gospel choir in a jazz context. Trumpeter Donald Byrd and a septet that includes tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, guitarist Kenny Burrell, and pianist Herbie Hancock are joined by an eight-voice choir directed by Coleridge Perkinson. The arrangements by Duke Pearson are masterful and one song, "Cristo Redentor," became a bit of a hit. This is a memorable effort that is innovative in its own way, a milestone in Donald Byrd's career.
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.
La Maison du Duke is proud to present a collection of unpublished recordings of Duke Ellington, which come from an important stock of Ellington archives (Clavié collection), acquired by the association, which only a few collectors had access to today . The CDs are reserved for members of the Maison du Duke association and are not intended to be marketed.