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Blue Note All Stars: Our Point Of View

Chris May By

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Different generations of Blue Note stars come together on this double-album to celebrate the label's legacy and to affirm its present-day relevance. Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock first recorded for Blue Note in the 1960s. Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire, Marcus Strickland, Lionel Loueke, Derrick Hodge and Kendrick Scott variously came on board in the 2000s and 2010s. The music hits the sweet spot as accurately as the lineup suggests it will.

The first disc opens with Glasper's "Bruce's Vibe," the second closes with Akinmusire's "Bruce, The Last Dinosaur." Both tunes are tributes to the late Bruce Lundvall, who signed Glasper and Akinmusire to Blue Note and preceded 2019's presidential incumbent, Don Was. "Bruce's Vibe" includes a sample from an acceptance speech Lundvall made at the Grammy Awards in 2011. It serves as the album's manifesto...

"When everyone says to you, 'What's going on with jazz dying,'" says Lundvall, "tell them what W.C. Fields would have said: 'go fuck yourself.'"

Over the ten tracks which follow, the album demonstrates that Lundvall's faith in jazz was totally on-point. Among the highlights is Shorter's "Masquelero," first heard in 1967 on Miles Davis' Sorcerer (Columbia). Shorter and Hancock were part of the band which made that album and both join the All-Stars for the track. Davis' version endures, but this new one captures the tune's otherworldly Native American vibe even more effectively. Full-length footage of the recording session is included as a bonus feature on Sophie Huber's excellent 2019 documentary, Blue Note Records Beyond The Notes. So, too, is the complete footage of the recording of another highlight, Glasper's "Bayyinah."

Shorter also contributes "Witch Hunt," from his 1966 Blue Note album, Speak No Evil. Akinmusire and Hodge each contribute two tunes and Loueke, Strickland and Scott one apiece. There is not a dud among them.

Our Point Of View was co-produced by Robert Glasper and Don Was. It is solidly in the Blue Note tradition while also being thoroughly of its own time. More, please.

Track Listing: CD1: Bruce’s Vibe; Cycling Through Reality; Meanings; Henyq; Witch Hunt; Second Light. CD2: Masquelero; Bayyinah; Message Of Hope; Freedom Dance; Bruce The Last Dinosaur.

Personnel: Wayne Shorter: soprano saxophone (2:1); Herbie Hancock: piano (2:1); Ambrose Akinmusire: trumpet (1:2-6; 2:1-5); Marcus Strickland: tenor saxophone: (1:1, 2, 5, 6; 2:1-5); Robert Glasper: piano, Fender Rhodes (1:1-6; 2:1-5); Lionel Loueke: guitar (1:1-3, 1:5, 6); Derrick Hodge: upright bass, electric bass (1:1-6; 2:1-5); Kendrick Scott: drums (1:1-3, 5, 6; 2:1-5).

Title: Our Point Of View | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Blue Note

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