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Jazz - To be released December 10, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - To be released November 19, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - To be released November 12, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - To be released October 29, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released October 22, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released October 22, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released October 14, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Christmas music, which first became a common move for singers back in the 1950s, continues to exert a mystical pull on musicians from punk rockers to pop/jazz luminaries like Norah Jones. There are two paths to making a Christmas record: cover the classics or write your own tunes. Given that Christmas music is built on impossibly catchy one-hit wonders, and the list of successful songwriters includes such talents as Irving Berlin ("White Christmas"), Leroy Anderson ("Sleigh Ride") and Johnny Marks ("Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"), the bar is high if you're banging out originals. On the other hand, presenting your version of the classics is equally daunting considering that you're following heavyweights like Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Elvis Presley. Norah Jones decided to split the risk by molding classics into her style while also writing half an album of new Christmas originals. Twenty years past her early but still resonant hits like "Don't Know Why," and "Turn Me On" (both from blockbuster debut Come Away with Me) Jones makes her mark on the genre with the five tunes she penned, sometimes in collaboration with album producer Leon Michels. The single, a Jones original called "Christmas Calling (Jolly Jones)," is an enjoyably melodic holiday number. Her gospel-inflected "You're Not Alone" unfurls like a classic '60s country tune with an assembly of overdubs providing angelic vocals on the choruses and a pedal steel guitar ringing in the background. Pedal steel returns on "Winter Wonderland" where a synth sounds like timbales. The champ among the classics attempted, however, is "Christmas Don't Be Late" which gets a wonderfully slow, torchy arrangement. Memorable details include the oozy horns of Raymond Mason, Dave Guy and Leon Michels, the snare drum reverb, and Jones—singing her own harmonies—leaning into the "hula hoop" line. Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here," famous from the Peanuts cartoon, is a natural fit for Jones' piano-and-voice prowess. Berlin's "White Christmas'' gets a straight mid tempo cocktail jazz reading with Jones keeping up a brisk pace. On the other hand, the Elvis chestnut, "Blue Christmas'' gets an ultra-slow reading with Jones on piano and vocals, letting her impeccably tight vibrato stretch over this holiday lament. The other favorite that Jones makes her own is "Run Rudolph Run," best known as Chuck Berry's Christmas hit, which here benefits from a deep rhumba beat and reverb on her doubled vocals. Ever the mercurial talent, Jones' holiday dream is a worthy addition to the Christmas lexicon that's merry and bright and yet innovative where it counts. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Ambient/New Age - Released October 14, 2021 | Blue Note Records

Christmas music, which first became a common move for singers back in the 1950s, continues to exert a mystical pull on musicians from punk rockers to pop/jazz luminaries like Norah Jones. There are two paths to making a Christmas record: cover the classics or write your own tunes. Given that Christmas music is built on impossibly catchy one-hit wonders, and the list of successful songwriters includes such talents as Irving Berlin ("White Christmas"), Leroy Anderson ("Sleigh Ride") and Johnny Marks ("Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"), the bar is high if you're banging out originals. On the other hand, presenting your version of the classics is equally daunting considering that you're following heavyweights like Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Elvis Presley. Norah Jones decided to split the risk by molding classics into her style while also writing half an album of new Christmas originals. Twenty years past her early but still resonant hits like "Don't Know Why," and "Turn Me On" (both from blockbuster debut Come Away with Me) Jones makes her mark on the genre with the five tunes she penned, sometimes in collaboration with album producer Leon Michels. The single, a Jones original called "Christmas Calling (Jolly Jones)," is an enjoyably melodic holiday number. Her gospel-inflected "You're Not Alone" unfurls like a classic '60s country tune with an assembly of overdubs providing angelic vocals on the choruses and a pedal steel guitar ringing in the background. Pedal steel returns on "Winter Wonderland" where a synth sounds like timbales. The champ among the classics attempted, however, is "Christmas Don't Be Late" which gets a wonderfully slow, torchy arrangement. Memorable details include the oozy horns of Raymond Mason, Dave Guy and Leon Michels, the snare drum reverb, and Jones—singing her own harmonies—leaning into the "hula hoop" line. Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here," famous from the Peanuts cartoon, is a natural fit for Jones' piano-and-voice prowess. Berlin's "White Christmas'' gets a straight mid tempo cocktail jazz reading with Jones keeping up a brisk pace. On the other hand, the Elvis chestnut, "Blue Christmas'' gets an ultra-slow reading with Jones on piano and vocals, letting her impeccably tight vibrato stretch over this holiday lament. The other favorite that Jones makes her own is "Run Rudolph Run," best known as Chuck Berry's Christmas hit, which here benefits from a deep rhumba beat and reverb on her doubled vocals. Ever the mercurial talent, Jones' holiday dream is a worthy addition to the Christmas lexicon that's merry and bright and yet innovative where it counts. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released September 24, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Composer, bandleader, and pianist Arturo O’Farrill delivers his Blue Note debut with his ten-piece Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble (drawn from his larger orchestra). Dreaming in Lions comprises two lengthy, multi-movement original suites. The title piece is inspired by Ernest Hemingway's novella The Old Man and the Sea, and is presented alongside "Despedida." Both were composed in collaboration with the Cuban Malpaso Dance Company and its artistic director, Osnel Delgado, and have been performed around the world. This music is dramatic and sweeping, filled with polyrhythms, dynamic textures, and complex harmonics. O'Farrill's lineup includes three percussionists, brass, reeds, winds, guitar, and a drum kit. The bandleader handles piano and electric piano. This music retains a live, spontaneous quality inspired by performing with the dance company in real time. The five-part "Despedida" suite is first. "Del Mar" offers the piano as a tolling church bell. A rumbling bassline frames the chords as a euphonium delivers the melody line while saxophones stutter in the backdrop. The trumpet adds an elegiac lyric line. The bandleader shifts gears with a post-bop-flavored son montuno, while the rhythm signals the change and the band swings like mad. "Intruso," with an electric bass, balances avant-jazz with post-bop, Afro-Latin funk, and carnival music. While "Beauty Cocoon" is a modernist bolero showcase for intricate flute, trumpet, and trombone work, it crosses rhumba and merengue with guaganco rhythms. "Ensayo Silencio" is a Latin jazz fusion jam with a strutting electric bassline, swirling, punchy, Joe Zawinul-esque keyboard layers, and buoyant tenor and brass engagement. The Dreaming in Lions suite is composed of nine movements. It's less celebratory -- more moody and detailed in execution. The title track offers slippery, ethereal piano as bass and flute create a melodic frame to assist the horns in building drama by combining folk forms, jazz, and classical music. "Scalular" is incendiary as the percussionists battle both one another and the bopping, skittering horn section amid angular piano montunos driven by a fleet walking bassline. "The Deep" is brooding. O'Farrill plays aggressive chordal vamps on a Fender Rhodes as trumpet soars over an undercurrent of layered, harmonized horns. The guitar and soprano sax playfully engage while the euphonium guides it all from the bottom. "Struggles and Strugglets" is a smoking, angular jazz-funk track wherein electric bass, guitar, and keys move against percussion and syncopated horns. "I Wish I Was" is a tender ballad with detailed, delicate brass, saxes, and piano harmonies. Son Adam O'Farrill's trumpet solo is one of the album's most moving moments. Closer "Dreams So Gold" is a meditative, classically tinged solo piano piece performed beautifully by O'Farrill's wife, Alison Deane. Dreaming in Lions is simply stellar. Its sophistication is underscored by O'Farrill's wild originality as a composer and arranger. This impeccably rehearsed band fires on all cylinders with an instinctive dramatic flair, infusing each composition with taste and color. In sum, Dreaming in Lions stands as one O'Farrill's most adventurous, passionately performed works. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 24, 2021 | Blue Note Records

Composer, bandleader, and pianist Arturo O’Farrill delivers his Blue Note debut with his ten-piece Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble (drawn from his larger orchestra). Dreaming in Lions comprises two lengthy, multi-movement original suites. The title piece is inspired by Ernest Hemingway's novella The Old Man and the Sea, and is presented alongside "Despedida." Both were composed in collaboration with the Cuban Malpaso Dance Company and its artistic director, Osnel Delgado, and have been performed around the world. This music is dramatic and sweeping, filled with polyrhythms, dynamic textures, and complex harmonics. O'Farrill's lineup includes three percussionists, brass, reeds, winds, guitar, and a drum kit. The bandleader handles piano and electric piano. This music retains a live, spontaneous quality inspired by performing with the dance company in real time. The five-part "Despedida" suite is first. "Del Mar" offers the piano as a tolling church bell. A rumbling bassline frames the chords as a euphonium delivers the melody line while saxophones stutter in the backdrop. The trumpet adds an elegiac lyric line. The bandleader shifts gears with a post-bop-flavored son montuno, while the rhythm signals the change and the band swings like mad. "Intruso," with an electric bass, balances avant-jazz with post-bop, Afro-Latin funk, and carnival music. While "Beauty Cocoon" is a modernist bolero showcase for intricate flute, trumpet, and trombone work, it crosses rhumba and merengue with guaganco rhythms. "Ensayo Silencio" is a Latin jazz fusion jam with a strutting electric bassline, swirling, punchy, Joe Zawinul-esque keyboard layers, and buoyant tenor and brass engagement. The Dreaming in Lions suite is composed of nine movements. It's less celebratory -- more moody and detailed in execution. The title track offers slippery, ethereal piano as bass and flute create a melodic frame to assist the horns in building drama by combining folk forms, jazz, and classical music. "Scalular" is incendiary as the percussionists battle both one another and the bopping, skittering horn section amid angular piano montunos driven by a fleet walking bassline. "The Deep" is brooding. O'Farrill plays aggressive chordal vamps on a Fender Rhodes as trumpet soars over an undercurrent of layered, harmonized horns. The guitar and soprano sax playfully engage while the euphonium guides it all from the bottom. "Struggles and Strugglets" is a smoking, angular jazz-funk track wherein electric bass, guitar, and keys move against percussion and syncopated horns. "I Wish I Was" is a tender ballad with detailed, delicate brass, saxes, and piano harmonies. Son Adam O'Farrill's trumpet solo is one of the album's most moving moments. Closer "Dreams So Gold" is a meditative, classically tinged solo piano piece performed beautifully by O'Farrill's wife, Alison Deane. Dreaming in Lions is simply stellar. Its sophistication is underscored by O'Farrill's wild originality as a composer and arranger. This impeccably rehearsed band fires on all cylinders with an instinctive dramatic flair, infusing each composition with taste and color. In sum, Dreaming in Lions stands as one O'Farrill's most adventurous, passionately performed works. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 15, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released September 15, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released September 10, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released September 8, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Move Your Hand was recorded live at Club Harlem in Atlantic City on August 9, 1969. Organist Lonnie Smith led a small combo -- featuring guitarist Larry McGee, tenor saxist Rudy Jones, bari saxist Ronnie Cuber, and drummer Sylvester Goshay -- through a set that alternated originals with two pop covers, the Coasters' "Charlie Brown" and Donovan's "Sunshine Superman." Throughout, the band works a relaxed, bluesy, and, above all, funky rhythm; they abandon improvisation and melody for a steady groove, so much that the hooks of the two pop hits aren't recognizable until a few minutes into the track. No one player stands out, but Move Your Hand is thoroughly enjoyable, primarily because the group never lets their momentum sag throughout the session. Though the sound of the record might be somewhat dated, the essential funk of the album remains vital. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 8, 2021 | Blue Note Records

Move Your Hand was recorded live at Club Harlem in Atlantic City on August 9, 1969. Organist Lonnie Smith led a small combo -- featuring guitarist Larry McGee, tenor saxist Rudy Jones, bari saxist Ronnie Cuber, and drummer Sylvester Goshay -- through a set that alternated originals with two pop covers, the Coasters' "Charlie Brown" and Donovan's "Sunshine Superman." Throughout, the band works a relaxed, bluesy, and, above all, funky rhythm; they abandon improvisation and melody for a steady groove, so much that the hooks of the two pop hits aren't recognizable until a few minutes into the track. No one player stands out, but Move Your Hand is thoroughly enjoyable, primarily because the group never lets their momentum sag throughout the session. Though the sound of the record might be somewhat dated, the essential funk of the album remains vital. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 27, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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Wayne Shorter's saxophone was so omnipresent throughout jazz's waves of upheaval in the '50s, '60s, and '70s that it would have been easy to mistake the man for the type of standard bearer that kept the genre anchored to its roots while iconoclasts were busy pushing boundaries. There he was with Art Blakey, there he was with Miles, there he was on Blue Note, there he was with Weather Report. However, in all of those scenarios, Shorter was absolutely not there to provide a grounding assist; instead, he was often one of the primary people (if not the only person) whose daring compositional prowess and improvisational innovation was a defining factor in that music's spectacular uniqueness. To be fair, Shorter is the recipient of all sorts of readers' poll victories, lifetime achievement awards, Grammys, and effusive praise from his musical contemporaries and descendants, so while he is far from being some well-kept secret, any opportunity to spotlight his contributions is a good one. And in that spirit, trumpeter Terence Blanchard's latest album is designed as a tribute to Shorter's genius and influence. Interestingly, only five of the 12 tracks here are Shorter compositions—"The Elders," "Fall," "When It Was Now," "Diana," and "More Elders"—while the others were penned by Blanchard and members of the jazz quartet E-Collective, who back Blanchard on the album, alongside the strings of the Turtle Island Quartet. Thanks to the presence of those groups, this is an album that—like Shorter's career—is full of sonic surprises. Some cuts like "The Second Wave" veer sharply into contemporary classical territory, with invigorating compositional complexity and dynamic performances in which Blanchard—and "jazz" as a construct, for that matter—take a decided back seat. In fact, Blanchard and "jazz" are seldom the focal point of many of these tracks. Even on Shorter-penned numbers like "Diana" (from 1974's Native Dancer, his divisive bossa-fusion album), the emphasis is on capturing the essence of the composition, rather than strictly recreating the original, a feat which is accomplished by Blanchard modifying his magnificently precise tone into a more open and exploratory one. The result is a dense, provocative, and incredibly rewarding album that recontextualizes all of the forms that Shorter worked in—fusion, modal, hard bop, and even third stream—into defiantly modern and genre-fluid textures. No doubt that the legend would approve. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released August 27, 2021 | Blue Note Records

Wayne Shorter's saxophone was so omnipresent throughout jazz's waves of upheaval in the '50s, '60s, and '70s that it would have been easy to mistake the man for the type of standard bearer that kept the genre anchored to its roots while iconoclasts were busy pushing boundaries. There he was with Art Blakey, there he was with Miles, there he was on Blue Note, there he was with Weather Report. However, in all of those scenarios, Shorter was absolutely not there to provide a grounding assist; instead, he was often one of the primary people (if not the only person) whose daring compositional prowess and improvisational innovation was a defining factor in that music's spectacular uniqueness. To be fair, Shorter is the recipient of all sorts of readers' poll victories, lifetime achievement awards, Grammys, and effusive praise from his musical contemporaries and descendants, so while he is far from being some well-kept secret, any opportunity to spotlight his contributions is a good one. And in that spirit, trumpeter Terence Blanchard's latest album is designed as a tribute to Shorter's genius and influence. Interestingly, only five of the 12 tracks here are Shorter compositions—"The Elders," "Fall," "When It Was Now," "Diana," and "More Elders"—while the others were penned by Blanchard and members of the jazz quartet E-Collective, who back Blanchard on the album, alongside the strings of the Turtle Island Quartet. Thanks to the presence of those groups, this is an album that—like Shorter's career—is full of sonic surprises. Some cuts like "The Second Wave" veer sharply into contemporary classical territory, with invigorating compositional complexity and dynamic performances in which Blanchard—and "jazz" as a construct, for that matter—take a decided back seat. In fact, Blanchard and "jazz" are seldom the focal point of many of these tracks. Even on Shorter-penned numbers like "Diana" (from 1974's Native Dancer, his divisive bossa-fusion album), the emphasis is on capturing the essence of the composition, rather than strictly recreating the original, a feat which is accomplished by Blanchard modifying his magnificently precise tone into a more open and exploratory one. The result is a dense, provocative, and incredibly rewarding album that recontextualizes all of the forms that Shorter worked in—fusion, modal, hard bop, and even third stream—into defiantly modern and genre-fluid textures. No doubt that the legend would approve. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released July 16, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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In 2018, Blue Note boss Don Was signed Dave McMurray, the former saxophonist of his band Was Not Was, for Music is Life, a beautiful album mixing direct, percussive jazz with corrosive soul and abrasive Blues. A true chameleon, McMurray has played with some of the industry's biggest artists, including B. B. King, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Hallyday, Gladys Knight, Albert King, Nancy Wilson, Bootsy Collins, Herbie Hancock, Geri Allen, Bob James and dozens of others. This time McMurray takes his made in Detroit sound for a walk over to the West Coast of the United States, tackling the repertoire of the Grateful Dead. On Loser, he brings in soul singer Bettye LaVette and one of the founders of the Dead, Bob Weir. His tender attentions breathe new life into the works of Jerry Garcia's band. The result is the grooviest of tributes. © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released July 16, 2021 | Blue Note Records

In 2018, Blue Note boss Don Was signed Dave McMurray, the former saxophonist of his band Was Not Was, for Music is Life, a beautiful album mixing direct, percussive jazz with corrosive soul and abrasive Blues. A true chameleon, McMurray has played with some of the industry's biggest artists, including B. B. King, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Hallyday, Gladys Knight, Albert King, Nancy Wilson, Bootsy Collins, Herbie Hancock, Geri Allen, Bob James and dozens of others. This time McMurray takes his made in Detroit sound for a walk over to the West Coast of the United States, tackling the repertoire of the Grateful Dead. On Loser, he brings in soul singer Bettye LaVette and one of the founders of the Dead, Bob Weir. His tender attentions breathe new life into the works of Jerry Garcia's band. The result is the grooviest of tributes. © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 11, 2021 | Blue Note Records

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At the age of 33, and after a good ten albums for different labels including EmArcy and Mack Avenue, guitarist Julian Lage has now come knocking at Blue Note's door. Now settled in New York, this former Californian child prodigy is making his big début at the prestigious firm with his close friend, the double bass player Jorge Roeder and Bad Plus drummer Dave King. This pair had already made an appearance on Love Hurts, Lage's 2019 album made up of covers of artists ranging from Roy Orbison to Ornette Coleman. Squint takes a different approach: nine of the eleven tracks here are original material. This focus on his own writing showcases even more of Lage's talent: a talent which is truly broad, as the styles here alternate between jazz, blues and even rock. And here, as elsewhere, the breadth of his influences is on display too: Jim Hall, Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell. But when it comes to his improvisations, Julian Lage has his own language, with dazzling clarity (as on his superb version of Emily by Johnny Mandel and Johnny Mercer) and a stunning gift for a slick melody (for example, the very beautiful theme Day and Age and its whiff of Americana). A true virtuoso, Lage is no show-off, but displays real class. © Marc Zisman / Qobuz

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