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Blues - Released March 9, 2018 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released December 6, 2017 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

The piano trio material included in this Japanese reissue, along with another session from late 1958 (see The Art of the Trio, aka "The 45 Sessions"), constitutes a body of work which was never released in LP format during Sonny Clark's tragically short life. Clark was an underrated master of the hard bop genre who had a very subtle, artful touch. On this date, he exhibits the influence of Ahmad Jamal and Red Garland (a lighter sound) and less of the Bud Powell-inspired, hard-driving bebop lines. This material was intended for jukebox release in 45 format. The arrangements are simple and concise; the tunes are all well-known standards. Sonny's conception is quite accessible -- relaxed tempos and blues-inflected improvisations. His chord voicings and harmonies are exquisite on "I Cover the Waterfront," "Somebody Loves Me," "Dancing in the Dark," and Cole Porter's "All of You." The recording in many ways presages the Three Sounds' approach to a tightly organized, commercially affable piano trio concept. This material is also included in Blue Note's 1998 domestic Sonny Clark release entitled Standards. © Lee Bloom /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 15, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released July 15, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released July 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released June 25, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Featuring Turrentine with Sonny Clark on piano and Kenny Burrell on guitar. Also including Tommy Turrentine (tp), Butch Warren (b), and Al Harewood (d). Recorded at Englewood Cliffs, NJ, by Rudy Van Gelder. Here is classic funky soul-jazz groove, three up-tempo, three slow. Sonny Clark (p) soars, Turrentine red-hot. © Ron Wynn & Michael Erlewine /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 25, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Recorded in between his modernist masterpieces Let Freedom Ring and One Step Beyond, Tippin' the Scales finds Jackie McLean returning to a safer, more straightforward hard bop scenario for a short spell. Since the album wasn't really in keeping with the direction McLean was heading (and since that direction proved to be successful), it stayed in the vaults for 22 years before finally seeing the light of day in 1984. As one might expect, given the nearly universal quality of McLean's Blue Note output, Tippin' the Scales is solid from top to bottom, even if it's not nearly as forward-looking as its predecessor. There's a lot of bluesy hard bop with a few unpredictable twists and turns, and the presence of pianist Sonny Clark lends a cool tone to the session overall, making for a nice contrast with McLean's frequently surging passion. Clark contributes three of the six pieces, which are in keeping with his laid-back, swinging style, highlighted by the amiable, appropriately titled "Nicely." There are also two McLean originals -- the fairly challenging title track and the more basic "Rainy Blues" -- and a rendition of the standard "Cabin in the Sky," where McLean's on-the-edge timbre and intonation are put to surprisingly warm use. Though it's one of the more conventional items in McLean's discography, Tippin' the Scales offers an opportunity to hear the altoist in an uncommonly relaxed quartet setting, playing (along with anchor Clark, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Art Taylor) at a typically high level of musicianship. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 13, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released May 13, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Booklet
The 2014 double-disc anthology Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums compiles tracks jazz trumpeter Miles Davis recorded for Blue Note Records during the '50s. These are recordings made after Davis left Prestige, but not including the 1949-1950 sessions later released as the classic 1957 album Birth of the Cool. Here, instead, we get recordings that were initially released as 10" LPs titled Young Man with a Horn, Miles Davis, Vol. 2, and Miles Davis, Vol. 3. Also included are all of the alternate takes that accompanied the original releases. Backing Davis on these sessions is a veritable who's who of future jazz hall of famers, including drummer Art Blakey, pianist Horace Silver, saxophonist Jackie McLean, and others. These recordings were made during a comparatively fallow period in Davis' career, just as he was emerging from his initial bout with heroin addiction. Here, cuts like the sanguine "Yesterdays" and the poignant "It Never Entered My Mind" reveal a darker, if no less melodic, version of the trumpeter who had previously paid his dues, chasing the shadow of Dizzy Gillespie in Charlie Parker's quintet. In fact, Davis tackles several Gillespie-associated compositions here, including "Woody 'N You" and "Ray's Idea," delivering them in his own understated, if no less bravura, style. This is the beginning of Davis the minimalist, eschewing flowery asides for straightforward, unadorned melodic line readings and improvisations played in a vibrato-free eighth-note style. In that sense, these cuts prefigure the more aggressive hard bop and harmonically challenging post-bop of the '60s; styles that Davis later helped to innovate with his "first great quintet." Ultimately, the tracks on Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums point the way toward Davis' landmark Columbia albums that transformed him from one of the best jazz trumpeters on the N.Y.C. scene into an international superstar. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Booklet
Cassandra Wilson has steadfastly refused to be pigeonholed or confined to any stylistic formula. Her highly anticipated Blue Note debut may stir renewed controversy, as she is once again all over the place. She begins the set with her intriguing version of "You Don't Know What Love Is." Then she moves from two Robert Johnson covers ("Come on in My Kitchen" and "Hellhound on My Trail") through rock compositions from Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell, her own title track, blues cut "Redbone," and a piercing version of "I Can't Stand the Rain" that can hold up to comparisons with Ann Peebles' classic. She doesn't have Johnson's menacing quality (who does?), but does invoke an equally compelling air. Wilson has great timing, pacing, and delivery, and certainly has blues sensibility in her sound. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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The 2014 John Coltrane anthology Sideman: Trane's Blue Note Sessions compiles cuts the influential saxophonist appeared on for other artists' various Blue Note albums. These are sides Coltrane recorded in 1956-1957, before he was the innovative giant he would become in the '60s. During this time, he was a working member of trumpeter Miles Davis' quintet, and an occasionally featured player with pianist Thelonious Monk. Here, however, Blue Note president Bruce Lundvall has brought together cuts Coltrane recorded for album sessions with three heavy-hitting artists, pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonist Johnny Griffin, with tracks culled from such albums as Clark's 1959 date Sonny's Crib, Chambers' 1956 and 1957 albums Chambers' Music and Whims of Chambers, and Griffin's 1957 classic A Blowin' Session. This is a three-disc set, presented in the original mono audio, and accompanied by a 34-page liner note booklet. While these tracks have been anthologized elsewhere, Sideman: Trane's Blue Note Sessions marks the first time all of Coltrane's recordings as a hired gun for the storied jazz label have been collected in one place; that alone makes this a welcome addition to Coltrane's catalog, not to mention a fascinating portrait of the saxophonist on the verge of his most transformative period. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

The two-disc Thelonious Monk anthology, 2014's 'Round Midnight: The Complete Blue Note Singles (1947-1952)), compiles all of the influential jazz pianist’s original 78 rpm singles released on the storied Blue Note label. These are Monk's first recordings under his own name, leading a group (not his debut recordings as a sideman with Coleman Hawkins). All of these recordings were later collected on various albums including Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1., and other anthologies. Here, they are presented in chronological order and with alternate takes. Recorded in six separate sessions beginning in October of 1947 and ending in May of 1952, these sides showcase many of the songs Monk composed, and which would quickly become part of the jazz canon. Included are "Evidence," "Mysterioso," "Well, You Needn't," and others. While the focal point of these albums is Monk's innovative use of dissonance and unexpected, angular melodicism, the recordings also benefit from a veritable who's-who of modern jazz of the period. Backing Monk here, variously, are such luminaries as drummers Art Blakey and Max Roach, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, trumpeters Kenny Dorham and Idrees Sulieman, saxophonists Lou Donaldson and Lucky Thompson, and many more. While these recordings are widely available, it's both historically enlightening and aesthetically pleasing to have them collected so thoughtfully here. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

With the possible exception of Grover Washington's Feels So Good, no other album captured the spirit of jazz in 1975 like Bobby Hutcherson's Montara. Recorded in his hometown of L.A., Montara is the very sound of groove jazz coming out of fusion, and Latin jazz's tough salsa rhythms coming home to roost in something more warm and effluvial that would meet the populace where it was changing and mellowing out rather than making it sit up and take notice. That said, Montara is, like the Washington record, a masterpiece of the genre even though it isn't celebrated in the same way. Featuring a stellar cast of musicians -- among them Willie Bobo, Blue Mitchell, Bobby Matos, Ernie Watts, Harvey Mason, Plas Johnson, Fred Jackson, Larry Nash, and Chuck Domanico -- Montara is a portrait of Hutcherson's complex gift of subtlety and virtuosity. Whether it's the funky Weather Report dance of "Camel Rise," with Nash's electric piano and the horns weaving around one another in a soulful samba melody, the sweet soulful groove of the title track, where Hutcherson's solo lilts to the point of actually singing, the killer Cuban salsa of "La Malanga," done in complete minor-key frenzy (all the while without losing the easy, slippery grace of soul-jazz), the shimmering echoplexed electric piano and vibes interplay on "Love Song," or the steaming, burning gasoline orgy of Hutcherson's read of Santana's "Oye Como Va," with a killer flute line by Watts winding its way through a knotty bassline and multi-part percussion, the effect is the same: blissed-out moving and grooving for a summer day. Hutcherson's chameleon-like ability to shape-shift is truly remarkable as a sideman and especially as a leader. He never overplays, his charts are tight, and he always creates a band vibe. Almost all of his solo recordings reflect the strengths of the ensemble rather than his strengths as a soloist. Montara is one of the great feel-good jazz albums of the 1970s, one of the great Latin jazz albums of the 1970s, and one of the great groove jazz records. Seek it out without hesitation. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Legendary label Blue Note takes listeners to school with a series of compilations to enlighten the world to the power of great jazz. On Blue Note 101: Jazz and Coffee, listeners are treated to a collection of jazz cuts tailored to help you get your day started. From the bright and bouncy rhythms of Hank Mobley's "Remember" to the relaxing vibes of Ike Quebec's "Blues for Charlie," this compilation might make waking up easier, but with a collection as cool as this, changing out of your robe and actually getting out of the house might be next to impossible. © Gregory Heaney /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Although the music from this concert performance was released in part on recordings previously only available in Japan and Europe, this is the full set from the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival teaming the extraordinary talents of vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson and trumpeter Woody Shaw, both in their prime. Where Hutch was a laid-back person and Shaw a firebrand, their styles somehow mesh beautifully as they split compositional duties and coalesce into a mighty force that expands the sum of their parts on these four lengthy tracks. Lesser-known pianist Hotep Cecil Bernard was on loan from John Handy at this time; drummer Larry Hancock proves quite worthy to be in this esteemed company; and Ray Drummond's bass playing is sharp as a tack and fluid, serving up substantial portions of lightness and darkness when called upon. The Hutcherson compositions "Anton's Bail" and "Farallone" are only available on this CD, and they are true gems, the former a pretty, easy swinger that is unforced, a bit bluesy and angular, conversely hip-heavy and subtly carefree, while the latter is an occasionally quickened waltz that is harmonically loaded, as Shaw attempts to match the vibraphonist's bright tones. The classic tracks penned by Shaw are nothing short of magnificent, as "The Moontrane" -- about as definitive a melody as has been in the trumpeter's repertoire -- sports a perfected short melody that is memorable and hummable. Similarly, the epic "Song of Songs" also utilizes a much thinner sound than his larger ensembles within its heavy modality in 6/8 time, as Shaw plays a progressive counter-harmony instead of the direct melody. Of course, Hutch and Shaw have ample room for solos, and they prove why they are the best in the business at inventing improvisations based on these viable themes. Ten years after these recordings, Shaw and Hutcherson would reunite for the trumpeter's Elektra Musician dates Night Music and Master of the Art. This excellent performance provides a perfect prelude to those equally potent sessions, and all come highly recommended. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

The 2014 Clifford Brown anthology Brownie Speaks: The Complete Blue Note Recordings compiles all of the recordings the influential jazz trumpeter made for the storied jazz label during the '50s. These are albums he recorded after his initial Powell sessions and before his Mercury dates. Included here are 1953's Jay Jay Johnson with Clifford Brown, 1953's New Star on the Horizon, 1956's New Faces New Sounds with Lou Donaldson, and the fiery 1954 live album A Night at Birdland with the Art Blakey Quintet. Also included throughout are the various bonus tracks attached to each session. A mere 22 years old when he embarked on this short four-year stint with Blue Note, Brown was already a jazz titan. Technically dazzling on the trumpet and blessed with a wealth of improvisational creativity steeped in the traditions of his forebears (namely Fats Navarro and Dizzy Gillespie), Brown was a man unparalleled on the jazz scene in the 1950s. Whether playing at burning speeds, as he does on "Cherokee," or digging deep into a slow ballad like "Easy Living" (both off New Star on the Horizon), Brown could articulate his ideas with devastating clarity. While all of the albums featured here are superb, must-hear examples of Brown's work, it is his live Birdland date as a member of drummer Art Blakey's group that reveals the most of what would become his legacy. The first incarnation of what would soon be known as Blakey's Jazz Messengers, the group included such influential players as the bluesy saxophonist Donaldson and the gospel-tinged pianist Horace Silver. From the pyrotechnic bop opener "Wee Dot" through Brown's gorgeous rendition of "Once in a While" and the rollicking Silver original "Quicksilver," the album is a masterful display of untethered artistry, bristling with a primordial energy that heralded the birth of the hard bop era. Unfathomably, only two weeks later, the group would disband for lack of bookings. Brown would, of course, go on to join drummer Max Roach in their legendary quintet, only to die in a car crash in 1956 at the age of 25. Ultimately, though there is implicit tragedy in his death at such a young age, with endless creative possibilities ahead of him, Brown had long found his voice, as evidenced by the work collected on Brownie Speaks. © Matt Collar /TiVo