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Bobbi Humphrey: Blacks And Blues

Read "Blacks And Blues" reviewed by Chris May

The title of the album and that of its opening track ("Chicago, Damn"), the original release date (1973) and the 'fro might suggest flautist Bobbi Humphrey's Blacks And Blues came with a clenched-fist salute and a political manifesto. But hey, Humphrey's third Blue Note release was composed and produced in La La Land by brothers Fonce and Larry Mizell, masters of chilled-out jazz-funk. Humphrey's cover-shot smile is the real clue to the vibe of the album--which in 2019 has been ...

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Joe Henderson: The State Of The Tenor • Live At The Village Vanguard • Volume 2

Read "The State Of The Tenor • Live At The Village Vanguard • Volume 2" reviewed by Greg Simmons

If any jazz performance from the 1980s could be thought of as a landmark statement, Joe Henderson's live State of the Tenor sessions would surely float to the top of the list. Recorded at the Village Vanguard over three nights in November 1985 and originally released on Blue Note Records two years later, State of the Tenor -Live at the Village Vanguard -Volume 2 has now received a high-quality vinyl reissue treatment courtesy of the label's Tone Poet series, curated ...

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Gil Evans: Old Bottle New Wine

Read "Old Bottle New Wine" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

Arranger / pianist Gil Evans did not record extensively as a leader, and he only released a few albums in the “classic" mode established by his collaborations with Miles Davis. New Bottle Old Wine (originally released on Pacific Jazz in 1958) is perhaps the best regarded—due to the vibrant presence of Julian “Cannonball" Adderley as the featured soloist, and the killer line-up of tunes from jazz's past, which Evans transformed into modern, third-stream-leaning music with all the wit of his ...

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Wayne Shorter: Etcetera

Read "Etcetera" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

The mid-sixties was an incredibly busy time for Wayne Shorter, who in 1965 had transitioned out of being Art Blakey's musical director into serving more or less the same roll for Miles Davis. By that point, he already had three Vee-Jay and two Blue Note leader dates under his belt and, in '65, he went on to record three more headliners on Blue Note--The Soothsayer, Etcetera and The All-Seeing Eye. Only the somewhat avant-garde Eye was released at ...

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Wayne Shorter: Emanon

Read "Emanon" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

With his most trusted cohorts standing shoulder-to-shoulder with him--pianist Danilo Perez, ever-ready bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade--Wayne Shorter knows, beyond instinct, that any music he envisions will come to life. And inspire. And amaze. And so we have Emanon, a three-CD set whose first disc--four sweeping orchestral works recorded with the quartet and the 34-piece, player-conducted, innovative and expansive Orpheus Chamber Quartet--serves, in a rather loose way, as the cinematic soundtrack to the Shorter/Monica Sly-penned, Randy ...

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Wayne Shorter: Emanon

Read "Emanon" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter is a living jazz legend--his career includes stints with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, with trumpeter Miles Davis (including his last great quintet, as well as foundational fusion albums), and with fusion icon Weather Report--any one of which would be enough to give him a significant place in the history of the music. Throughout his career he has also produced influential work as a leader, going back to hard bop standards for Blue Note Records. So it is ...

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Wayne Shorter: Emanon

Read "Emanon" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Just the fifth release from Wayne Shorter's celebrated acoustic quartet in its near two-decade career, the triple-CD plus graphic novel that is Emanon marks something of a creative high point in its journey. The first CD, a four-part suite for quartet and the thirty-four-piece Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, is Shorter's first studio recording since Alegria (Verve, 2003), while the second and third discs capture the quartet live in London. The accompanying forty-eight page comic-book, co-written by Shorter and Monica Sly, with ...

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José James: Lean On Me

Read "Lean On Me" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Already known for his crisp production values, astute musicianship and eclectic presentations, Jose James delivers again with his tribute to Bill Withers, Lean on Me. The album reaffirms James' signature attention to stylistic pastiche while further refining his thematic focus on the subtleties of human relationships. Here James' narcotic blend is simultaneously steeped in tradition and floats at the horizon of modernity. The beats penetrate with unabashed eroticism. James' voice coos with soul and cuts with the dirty ...

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Charles Lloyd &The Marvels + Lucinda Williams: Vanished Gardens

Read "Vanished Gardens" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

At age 80 legendary saxophonist/composer Charles Lloyd shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to his New Quartet--most recently documented on Passin' Thru (Blue Note Records, 2017)--he has collaborated with the Greek singer Maria Farantouri on Athens Concert (ECM, 2011); played duets with Quartet pianist Jason Moran on Hagar's Song (ECM, 2013); and produced a long-form suite commissioned by the Jazztopad Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, documented on Wild Man Dance (Blue Note Records, 2015). Vanished Gardens marks ...

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Charles Lloyd: Vanished Gardens

Read "Vanished Gardens" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Far be it from me to cast a shadow on Vanished Gardens, Charles Lloyd's 80th birthday release. With a career spanning my point of conception to now, as I try to make sense of it all, is my two cents really necessary? So “Defiant" starts out as an extended shadowy and supple Lloyd solo as the Marvels: Bill Frisell, guitar; Greg Leisz on pedal steel, Reuben Rogers on bass, and Eric Harland sitting in on the drums slip into a ...

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Kenny Barron: Concentric Circles

Read "Concentric Circles" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Hard to believe that, as Kenny Barron turns 75, Concentric Circles is his Blue Note debut, one that is as muscular, fleet, and entertaining as any debut by any man two-thirds his age. Trust Barron's deeply-versed quintet to swing like a big band plus, and “DPW" leaps out at you with a jumping, bop personality, the flaring horns immediately announcing the dance floor open, and an Afro-Latin fused rhythmic dynamic that's impossible not to move to. Always a ...

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The Nels Cline 4: Currents, Constellations

Read "Currents, Constellations" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Guitarist/composer Nels Cline's new quartet builds upon his collaboration with guitarist Julian Lage, which was documented on Room (Mack Avenue, 2014). Both wondered what it would be like to add a rhythm section; respected players, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey, accepted the invitation to join the duo during a residency at The Stone in New York City, and this band was born. As on the duet album, both guitars play it straight. There is no acoustic guitar here, ...


Ocean Blues

"Ocean Blues" performed by the Dave Wilson Quartet at Chris’ Jazz Café (Philadelphia) on March 29, 2018. From the album One Night At Chris’ (2019) featuring Dave Wilson (saxophone), Dan Monaghan (drums), Tony Marino (bass) and Kirk Reese (piano).

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