My Blue Note Obsession

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Cliff Jordan and John Gilmore: Blowing in From Chicago – 1957

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Imagine if Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, at the height of their popularity in 1957, invited a couple of sax guys you've never heard of to play with them. The result would be Blowing in From Chicago--a lively, wonderful record firmly in the Blue Note bop tradition. The rhythm section is extremely familiar: Art Blakey on drums, Horace Silver on piano and Curly Russell on bass. It's the same rhythm section that powered the Jazz ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

A Deadly Sin: Gluttony

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Many years ago, I committed the deadly sin of musical gluttony. I'm Pavlov's dog for a good box set. I love Springsteen's Tracks. I can listen over and over to all 5 CDs in the Brubeck For All Time box set. (Which isn't really a box set. It's just five previously released CDs crammed into a box. I like it anyway.) I'm a sucker for box sets of label histories, like the 9-CD RCA Victor 80th Anniversary box ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Hank Mobley: Dippin' – Blue Note 4209

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1965 was an interesting year musically, and Hank Mobley's Dippin' tries--mostly successfully--to capture all of it. It's a hodgepodge of styles that were very popular that year, ranging from soul to pop, hard bop to bossa nova. It's a fun listen--but don't expect any kind of consistent feel. The record pairs two of the standard-bearers of 1960s Blue Note soul-jazz: Mobley on tenor sax and Lee Morgan on trumpet. While you can enjoy Dippin' without knowing ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Art Blakey: Orgy in Rhythm, Volumes 1 and 2 – Blue Note 1554 and 1555

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This may be the strangest album ever released on Blue Note Records, and I don't like it. I hate saying that. I love music, and I try to find something to like in everything. I try occasionally to go beyond the familiar. Opera baffles me, but I can't deny there are some beautiful melodies and powerful arias. Country music is cornball to my ears, but I do love me some Johnny Cash. And what is bluegrass ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Paul Chambers: Whims of Chambers – Blue Note 1534

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At Blue Note Records in the 1950s, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones were about as common as grits at a Southern diner. And about as noticeable, too--not flashy, just solid and reputable. Blue Note never had a “house band," but if it had, Chambers and Jones would have been the hard bop core. Art Blakey may have been the more famous and more aggressive Blue Note drummer, and Charles Mingus the more famous (non-Blue Note) ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Lou Donaldson: Alligator Bogaloo – Blue Note 4263

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Alligator Bogaloo is very much a product of its time--1967--and it is extremely groovy. Start with the cover. A woman with crazy eye makeup wears a nutty hijab-like getup and is waving her arms like an early-day Bangle walking like an Egyptian. Tres psychedelic. Well, no surprise there. It's April 1967. The Summer of Love is about to begin. In two months, Sly and the Family Stone will burst into the public's consciousness and create modern ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Lee Morgan – Volume 2: Sextet – Blue Note 1542

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No one ever bought a record for its weird song titles. (And if they did, Iron Butterfly's psychedelic rock classic In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida would be the best seller of all time.) But still, Lee Morgan Volume 2: Sextet deserves some kind of award in that category. First, there are two songs written by virtual unknown Owen Marshall. “Her Sister" makes you wonder two things: Whose sister? And what is she like? Sexy? Mysterious? Cool? Hard to tell from this tune, ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Jimmy Smith: Midnight Special – Blue Note 4078

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The history of jazz is filled with great pairs: Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn--Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker--Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond--Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul. Add one more pair to the list: Jimmy Smith and Stanley Turrentine. Smith was the ground-breaking organist, steeped in the blues, who introduced the Hammond B-3 as a legitimate hard bop alternative to the piano. Turrentine was the legendary tenor saxman, steeped in the blues, who became synonymous with 1960s ...



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