Everything old is new again. Except of course for the timeless music of Blue Note Records which celebrated its 75th anniversary this year. The recordings Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff produced starting in 1939 have been collector's items since day one. While much of the label's music has been re-released in digital format, CDs and in iTunes, current chief Don Was decided to celebrate the 75th by compiling a list of 100 Blue Note Records to be released as remastered vinyl LPs. While half the fun of this list is arguing which other titles should have been included on the ...read more
Recorded just four months before his tragic demise, Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch (Blue Note, 1964) represents a pinnacle moment in avant-garde jazz of the 1960s. Together with Andrew Hill's Point of Departure on the same label and from the same year, Out To Lunch is among the most challenging albums in the Blue Note catalog--one to approach with a very open mind. It is also the only full studio record that Dolphy completed for the label, and the only one released during his lifetime. Similar to Hill's masterpiece, Out To Lunch focuses on Dolphy's outré compositions every ...read more
Eric Dolphy Out To Lunch! Blue Note / Music Matters 2009 (1964)
Few jazz fans still need an introduction to reed player Eric Dolphy's 1964 masterpiece, Out to Lunch!. It's an album people tend to come to fairly early on in their love affair with the music (assuming, that is, the affair started after the early 1960s), and serves as a meeting ground for a wide scope of fans, be they stalwarts of bop, avant-garde, big band, what have you. It's a modern, yet unthreatening piece of sublime music--a transcendent five-part suite in which ...read more
Note: The title refers to a composition by Prince Lasha, recorded on his 1966 UK CBS album Insight.
The history of jazz is a recorded history, one that exists on commercially-issued albums (many of which, thankfully, are in print or have been reissued) as well as a vast amount of concert recordings passed around among the cognoscenti and the intrepid researchers/musicians. For every historian who bemoans the lack of a Buddy Bolden cylinder, there are countless acetates, reel tapes, LPs, 78s and CDs available of sessions like Coltrane's Village Vanguard recordings, Charlie Parker's air-checks, Ellington's suites or ...read more
Confrontational, sprawling and historic, this resurrected March 1964 performance by one of his favorite bands--Johnny Coles (trumpet) and Clifford Jordan (saxophone) with favorite sons Dannie Richmond (drums), Jaki Byard (piano) and Eric Dolphy (reeds, flutes)--presents the muse of bassist Charles Mingus in all its terrible glory.
Split here between two CDs, this performance begins with two more or less solo pieces. Byard renders an amazing unaccompanied performance on ATFW," his combination tribute to Art Tatum and Fats Waller," blistering runs into complete stops, an elegant waltz time passage and then boogie-woogie. Mingus next commands Sophisticated Lady" in mostly ...read more
Following upon the first-time release of Mingus At UCLA 1965 (Universal 2007), which afforded penetrating if uneven glimpses into bassist Charles Mingus' creative process, this two-disc release offers more satisfying music and a fuller picture of an earlier and smaller but more distinguished Mingus ensemble--the fabled 1964 touring unit that would be recorded later that same year in Europe. Though Eric Dolphy understandably will always be a magnet, each of the soloists is heard to maximum advantage on this earlier American concert.
As is the case with the later date, pianist Jacki Byard opens the concert with a ...read more
The hype factor was cranked up considerably in 2005 for the unearthed recording of two jazz legends: John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk's At Carnegie Hall (Blue Note). Things have cooled down a tad since that momentous release but just as exciting and equally important is Cornell 1964 featuring the Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy. Mingus, the powerful enigmatic bassist, band-leader and composer, was as controversial as he was dynamic. Dolphy, an absolutely brilliant musician (alto sax, bass clarinet, and flute), whose short lived musical career (he died a few months after this concert in 1964) still ...read more