The Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions is an attractive six-disc box set featuring all of Dexter Gordon's '60s recordings for the label in chronological order. Such classic albums as Dexter Calling and Go! were recorded during these years, and they are presented in their entirety, as are two complete sessions that have been previously unavailable on CD and several unreleased alternate takes. For serious Gordon fans and musicologists, it's an essential collection, but its very thoroughness makes it less appealing to casual fans, who would be better off acquiring the individual albums.
During his comeback years (1959-62) after a decade mostly off the scene, tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec recorded frequently for Blue Note. He started off with a session aimed at the 45 jukebox market and, although he eventually made a few full-length albums for the label, Quebec cut four 45 dates over a two-and-a-half-year period. This double-disc set has all of the jukebox sessions. Most of the 26 selections clock in between four and seven minutes and have long melody statements in addition to concise and soulful solos. Quebec, who was in consistently prime form during his last period, is joined by groups featuring either Skeeter Best or Willie Jones on guitar and Edwin Swanston, Sir Charles Thompson, or Earl Van Dyke on organ. Fun, loose and highly enjoyable music.
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 material from The Connection, Shades Of Redd, and an Unissued Session! Available in a box set as either three LPs or two CDs, this limited-edition release has all of the music recorded at pianist Freddie Redd's three Blue Note sessions. In addition to the selections originally included on the LPs Music From the Connection and Shades of Redd, there is a completely unissued date that adds to the fairly slim Freddie Redd discography. Altoist Jackie McLean (who is on all three sets) and tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks (a key soloist on two) co-star with the pianist; trumpeter Benny Bailey is also heard from the later date. The music is comprised mostly of Redd's originals (including seven songs written for the stage play The Connection) and fits into the style of the mainstream hard bop of the day, although with a few personal touches. Straight-ahead fans and Blue Note collectors can consider this set to be essential.