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Jazz - To be released January 1, 2050 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - To be released October 23, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - To be released October 9, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released September 11, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Super groups are often over marketed and rather dull. However, this appears to be the complete opposite with Artemis’s debut album, released on Blue Note Records. Behind the Artemis name, Greek Goddess of nature, the hunt and childbirth, are seven internationally acclaimed female musicians, each masters of their craft. At the head of this multi generational roundup, the Canadian pianist and musical director of the project, Renee Rosnes has brought together the Israeli clarinetist Anat Cohen, the Chilean tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, the Canadian trompettiste Ingrid Jensen, the Japanese double bassist Noriko Ueda, the American drummer Allison Miller, and on two tracks, the Franco-American vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. ‘Each member of Artemis is a unique individual, and this is what music needs, artistic versatility!’, explains Cohen. ‘It’s the people that make life interesting and that make music captivating’. The group’s identity has flourished organically thanks to the seven musicians, each expressing their own vison and perspective yet maintaining a strong homogeneity throughout the record. For Jensen, ‘the character of the Greek Goddess Artemis reveals the energy and the broad musical horizons that our band brings on stage’. This is where the success of the record, focused on natural unification, shines. This vast album, comprised mainly of original compositions also features eclectic covers of The Fool On The Hill by the Beatles, Cry Buttercup, Cry, popularised by Maxine Sullivan, The Sidewinder by Lee Morgan and If It’s Magic by Stevie Wonder. Expert in her field, Renee Rosnes’ musical arrangements capture and cement the artistic creativity of each member. This super group, entirely female in its line-up, sends a strong message to the male dominated jazz world. Artemis’music is beautiful, intelligent, and challenges the preconceived ideas of the jazz genre. ©️ Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released September 11, 2020 | Blue Note Records

The eponymous debut album from the all-star female jazz collective, 2020's Artemis showcases the group's immense compositional and improvisational depth. Named after the Greek goddess of hunting, Artemis is led by pianist Renee Rosnes and features the equally adept talents of tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, clarinetist Anat Cohen, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, bassist Noriko Ueda, and drummer Allison Miller. Also on board is Grammy-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. Rosnes brought the group together in 2017 with an eye to building upon each of the member's combined skills. Consequently, while we get distinctive contributions from each player, while the album plays as a unified artistic vision. It opens with Miller's intensely kinetic "Goddess of the Hunt," her roiling groove and the song's tense melody offering a rich jumping-off point for each soloist. Jensen in particular leaps into the fray, offering frentic note clusters and wide octave leaps that further reinforce her status as one of the main heirs to Kenny Wheeler's legacy. From there, they settle into Aldana's "Frida," a modal piece inspired by painter Frida Kahlo whose languid, wavelike structure subtly evokes Herbie Hancock's 1966 classic "Maiden Voyage." We also get the wild-eyed, circus-like atmosphere of Rosnes' "Big Top," the dusky, slow-burn flamenco of Cohen's "Nocturno," and the spiraling, Horace Silver-esque hard bop of Ueda's "Step Forward." There are also a handful of nicely attenuated covers, including an expansive arrangement of The Beatles' "The Fool on the Hill." Salvant also contributes a gorgeously sad-eyed take on Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic" and applies her delicately resonant voice to Maxine Sullivan's plaintive 1940's ballad "Cry, Buttercup, Cry." While the virtuosity and musical creativity of the group are the primary focus of Artemis, there's an implied message of feminist empowerment at work in their supportive ensemble of strong female artistic voices. As if to underline this female-centric reimagining of heretofore male-focused aspects of the jazz tradition, they dive into an album-closing reworking of Lee Morgan's classic "The Sidewinder." Here, Artemis deconstructs the funky boogaloo into a moody, wickedly laid-back groover in which they trade increasingly abstract and off-kilter lines before coming together in soulful unison behind Rosnes. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 27, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released August 27, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released August 14, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Before we marvel at the high-altitude interplay of the Bill Frisell Trio or the sometimes extreme sonic gyrations of its leader, let's begin at the most basic level—with stark, simple, standalone guitar declarations. Frisell opens several pieces on Valentine this way, in the clear. He'll send a carefully plucked single note out into the air, and then, after it subsides, he'll drop another. Tone is his only lure, and it's all he needs to suggest the framework of a tune like "Levees:" The initial phrase operates like an opening scene in a film, establishing a thick and specific atmosphere. Out of that blossoms a six-minute exploration in which Frisell, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston travel between strict tempo and drifty listlessness, blues repetition and free-jazz high dives, jittery conversation and disquieting silences. From a single note, there are many resonances; Frisell has been doing this kind of quiet alchemy for years, of course. Valentine is among the most rousing works in his extensive discography in part because it's so relentlessly visual. On just about every piece, Frisell and his trio work transfixingly together to conjure dirt-road sojurns and nature vistas out of thin air. They create contemplative spaces the jazz academy never visits. They dance through a blithe, lighthearted reading of Burt Bacharach's "What The World Needs Now" and a disquieting sorrow-filled version of "We Shall Overcome." And on many of Frisell's skeletal originals (the stunning "Keep Your Eyes Open," for example), they transform their three-way improvised abstractions into clear, singable music that has the sturdy narrative arc of classic country music. As these journeys unfold, it becomes clear that right along with the spontaneity there's some deep intention at work. The stylistic juxtapositions and sudden changes in density are hardly random. Neither are the fragile little introductions—somehow they're all Frisell needs to telegraph where he's going. As in so many aspects of life, the tone is set from the top. © Tom Moon/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released August 14, 2020 | Blue Note Records

Bill Frisell's catalog is as vast as it is diverse. Whenever he releases an album, the question is often, "which Frisell will show up?" On Valentine, the debut offering from the guitarist's 2020 trio with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston, he offers a multi-dimensional display of his many identities. Frisell has led few recorded trio offerings, although he performs in that setting most often. This rhythm section jumped into the studio immediately after a well-reviewed two-week run at the Village Vanguard in New York and that live sense of presence and intuition is ever present. The program consists mainly of radically re-visioned versions of tunes Frisell's recorded before, but he re-investigates the older material with fresh ears and delivers it accordingly. Check "Baba Drame," the set opener by Malian guitarist Boubacar Traoré. It appeared as a droning desert blues with the composer's vocals and Jenny Scheinman's haunted violin on 2003's The Intercontinentals. Here it's breezier, lighter, and jazzier, with multi-tracked drones framed by earthy tom-toms and a syncopated bassline. Frisell's title track owes a large debt to Thelonious Monk's "Well, You Needn't" with its angular yet melodic introduction and complex rhythmic approach. Before long, it opens in a loose yet engaged trio interplay that swings the post-bop blues balanced by somewhat abstracted improv. "Levees," penned for the soundtrack to Bill Morrison's 2014 documentary The Great Flood, is directly inspired by the Delta tradition. This version is multi-dimensional thanks to the rhythm section's deft inquiry. The trio focus on offering notes and tones just outside the frame of those Frisell plays. "Keep Your Eyes Open" was one of the most lyrical tunes to appear on 1997's Nashville. Its melodicism falls inside a quicker tempo and a stripped arrangement -- sans strummed acoustic guitars or dobros. This version of Billy Strayhorn's classic "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing," is rendered with elegance, grace, and subtle harmonic questions amid its gentle swing. "Electricity" moves from modal blues to nursery rhyme to euphoric post-bop. "Aunt Mary" is a postmodern parlor waltz; it blurs notions between folk song and chamber jazz. Burt Bacharach's and Hal David's "What the World Needs Now," marks the third time Frisell has cut it. This is the most nuanced and revealing of all; it maps the tune's harmonic subtleties in a lithe modern jazz approach. Introduced by pinched guitar harmonics, set-closer "We Shall Overcome" is presented (at least initially) as a reverential shuffle. Its chart revels in the stirring melody that reveals its roots in Rev. Dr. Charles Albert Tindley's pre-War gospel original, circa 1900. Valentine is a portrait of this trio at a creative peak. While not the liveliest record in Frisell's catalog, it is one of his most inquiring, rhythmically inventive, and lyrical. Given his voluminous discography, that's saying plenty. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 7, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released August 7, 2020 | Blue Note Records

Immanuel Wilkins is a 23-year-old saxophonist and composer. Though well-known to musicians since he was a teen, his excellent playing on Joel Ross' acclaimed 2019 debut KingMaker caught the attention of jazz fans. Wilkins' tone is warm, but sometimes searing, and capable of expressing deep emotion with technical aplomb. His phrasing is eloquent, sometimes angular, and his compositions reflect a complex harmonic system derived equally from gospel, blues, spiritual post-bop, and the musical thinking of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. Omega was produced by pianist/mentor Jason Moran. Wilkins' quartet includes pianist Micah Thomas, bassist Daryl Johns, and drummer Kweku Sumbry. The tunes here reflect Wilkins' feelings about the ongoing struggle begun by the Civil Rights movement in the 20th century and carried on by Black Lives Matter in the 21st. Lush melody and shifting tempos govern opener "Warriors." Jones takes the first solo, moving across jazz history with an expansive, swinging sensibility. The rhythm section's interplay is knotty and tight, addressing Jones' right-hand runs with physicality. "Ferguson: An American Tradition" frames the communities' reaction to the 2014 killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown, Jr. by a police officer who was later acquitted. Wilkins offers an elegy as his intro, portraying the event in reverse. It becomes more intense as piano and percussion fire in tandem; Wilkins' solo bridges them, its motion and rumbling dissent are colored by grief, sorrow, and immense pain. "The Dreamer," honoring James Weldon Johnson (the first executive secretary of the NAACP) is almost contemplative, with speculative piano chords, a sparse bassline, and brushed cymbals. Wilkins' lyric statement and solo are abundant in tenderness and empathy. "Mary Turner: An American Tradition" is a turbulent, angry, and inventive composition about the brutal murder of a pregnant black woman lynched (and worse) by a Georgia mob in 1918, after publicly calling out whites for her husband's murder. "Grace and Mercy" is another respite, its lyricism finds Wilkins and Thomas joining in the melody before the saxist sets it aloft with his fluid solo. The album's centerpiece is a four-part suite of varying rhythmic and harmonic strategies that Wilkins composed at Juilliard. First, "The Key" offers subdued gospel tones with single alto notes as Johns plays chords and Sembry dances on his cymbals. "Saudade" is knotty modern post-bop that crisscrosses modalism with swing, and allows everyone a solo. "Eulogy" is a ballad entwining sax lines with slightly staggered piano chords as the rhythm section delivers angular asides, adding tension to the sweetness. Closing movement "Guarded Heart" weds an elegant modal lyric to fiery, heated, yet always graceful group improvisation. The title-track closer comes right out of John Coltrane's Impressions period. Jones counters with striated Latin rhythms and comps as Johns and Sumbry embrace both and Wilkins' solo buoys them in exploring outer dimensions. All told, it amounts to Omega as an auspicious, extremely impressive debut from an artist who arrives fully formed as a bandleader. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released August 6, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released August 6, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released August 6, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released August 6, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released July 17, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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This time capsule, recorded in 1959 in Rudy Van Gelder's Hackensack, NJ, living room and left undisturbed in the Blue Note vaults until now, contains the essential DNA of the first flowering of hard bop in the late '50s. All the genre hallmarks are present: There are intricate chase-scene originals and clever arrangements (the standard "Close Your Eyes") and brash blues-inflected outbursts that light up the solos. And yet, transcending those individual traits, defining not just the notes but the very spirit of the endeavor, is a quality that doesn't get discussed enough in jazz—precision, as in persnickety dotted i's and crossed t's. At times it's downright startling hearing these five musicians nail the details to the wall. They're hardly "just coolin'" here; they're attentive to the small nuances of tunes that might have been written the morning of the session. You can detect the commitment in the pitch-bending doiiiits and the staccato single-note jabs, in the explosion of a long-cresting press roll and the deliberate, nothing-extra stride of a Blakey-trademarked medium-tempo swing. You can hear it in the way trumpeter Lee Morgan and tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley phrase together, adding grace notes that are almost inaudible but key nonetheless. And you can't miss it in the thrillingly open lanes where the solos happen. Blakey was revered for the communication he cultivated between musicians; using a repertoire of hits and jabs, he pulled his collaborators into rich, sometimes boisterous discussions, a mode of interplay that in many ways defines hard bop. There are plenty of examples on this record, but perhaps the most crystalline comes during Morgan's first few choruses on "Jimerick," a blazing uptempo blues. He begins with a short inversion of the theme, first restating it in a lazy way. Then he articulates more aggressively, as though trying to establish consensus on the tempo. Blakey picks that up, and jabs out an even sharper response from the metal rim of the snare drum. That unleashes some mean Morgan double-time bebop; what began as a single-note bugle call becomes an intricate conversation. Each element of that conversation is notable for its clarity, and each new soloist contributes to it in a different way—check the unhurried, wonderfully lucid way Mobley carves up the opening "Hipsippy Blues." The tune is one of three originals Mobley wrote for the date, and if it's familiar that's because it was included on a monumental live recording captured a few months later—At the Jazz Corner of the World, a fiery and complex document that's become part of the "essential listening" jazz canon. Just Coolin', which is apparently the only other recording of this short lived incarnation of the group, might be a step below that in terms of intensity. But only a step. © Tom Moon/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released July 17, 2020 | Blue Note Records

This time capsule, recorded in 1959 in Rudy Van Gelder's Hackensack, NJ, living room and left undisturbed in the Blue Note vaults until now, contains the essential DNA of the first flowering of hard bop in the late '50s. All the genre hallmarks are present: There are intricate chase-scene originals and clever arrangements (the standard "Close Your Eyes") and brash blues-inflected outbursts that light up the solos. And yet, transcending those individual traits, defining not just the notes but the very spirit of the endeavor, is a quality that doesn't get discussed enough in jazz—precision, as in persnickety dotted i's and crossed t's. At times it's downright startling hearing these five musicians nail the details to the wall. They're hardly "just coolin'" here; they're attentive to the small nuances of tunes that might have been written the morning of the session. You can detect the commitment in the pitch-bending doiiiits and the staccato single-note jabs, in the explosion of a long-cresting press roll and the deliberate, nothing-extra stride of a Blakey-trademarked medium-tempo swing. You can hear it in the way trumpeter Lee Morgan and tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley phrase together, adding grace notes that are almost inaudible but key nonetheless. And you can't miss it in the thrillingly open lanes where the solos happen. Blakey was revered for the communication he cultivated between musicians; using a repertoire of hits and jabs, he pulled his collaborators into rich, sometimes boisterous discussions, a mode of interplay that in many ways defines hard bop. There are plenty of examples on this record, but perhaps the most crystalline comes during Morgan's first few choruses on "Jimerick," a blazing uptempo blues. He begins with a short inversion of the theme, first restating it in a lazy way. Then he articulates more aggressively, as though trying to establish consensus on the tempo. Blakey picks that up, and jabs out an even sharper response from the metal rim of the snare drum. That unleashes some mean Morgan double-time bebop; what began as a single-note bugle call becomes an intricate conversation. Each element of that conversation is notable for its clarity, and each new soloist contributes to it in a different way—check the unhurried, wonderfully lucid way Mobley carves up the opening "Hipsippy Blues." The tune is one of three originals Mobley wrote for the date, and if it's familiar that's because it was included on a monumental live recording captured a few months later—At the Jazz Corner of the World, a fiery and complex document that's become part of the "essential listening" jazz canon. Just Coolin', which is apparently the only other recording of this short lived incarnation of the group, might be a step below that in terms of intensity. But only a step. © Tom Moon/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released July 10, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Gerald Clayton joins Blue Note Records with a live album recorded in the Mecca of Jazz, The Village Vanguard. Joining the pianist, who since 2017 has resided in Los Angeles (where he grew up) after ten years in New York, are his most faithful musicians: Logan Richardson on alto saxophone, Walter Smith III on tenor saxophone, Joe Sanders on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums. To accompany these legendary Blue Note and Village Vanguard names (“It’s such a special sacred place for music! You really can feel the presence of what’s occurred in the room.”), Clayton adds covers by two equally legendary musicians (Bud Powell with Celia and Duke Ellington with Take the Coltrane) and a gold standard track (a more than eleven minute-long version of Body and Soul on which his delicate, sepia-swing infused playing makes for one of the great moments on the album). With such great characters and setting, all that remains is to listen to the stories this quintet have to tell over one and a quarter hours. While chemistry and interaction between the players is intense, there is a sparkling virtuosity and, in line with Clayton’s philosophy, a sense of sincerity: “I think the live setting is the most honest testament to what it is we do all year round. I called it Happening to highlight the fact that the music is living, that we have a whole lot of happenings throughout the year, and performances at the Village Vanguard are some of the most special of those happenings.” Contemporary hard bop, revisited vintage swing and some more destructured tracks (A Light), Gerald Clayton has the technical and, most importantly, creative means to venture into all possible territories. This old student of Kenny Barron who grew up alongside Roy Hargrove, Diana Krall and Charles Lloyd impresses from beginning to end on this record. With his ability to mix traditional and modern styles, he shows more than ever that he is one of the most inventive musicians of his generation. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz 
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Jazz - Released July 10, 2020 | Blue Note Records

Since stepping out of the long shadow cast by the Clayton Brothers on the late Roy Hargrove's 2008 Earfood and Kendrick Scott's Reverence the following year, pianist Gerald Clayton has been turning heads as a composer, bandleader, and soloist. Happening: Live at the Village Vanguard, is his Blue Note debut. Clayton offers originals and standards in trio and quintet settings. His sidemen for the occasion are bassist Joe Sanders and alto saxophonist Logan Richardson, both longtime collaborators; tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III, who worked with Clayton on Scott's Reverence and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire's The Heart Emerges Glistening, and drummer Marcus Gilmore, a first timer in the pianist's universe, though he'd previously worked with Smith. The 75-minute program consists of seven tunes, all of them long. It opens with an original, "Patience Patients." Arranged for quintet, this labyrinthine exercise in post-bop offers mysterious lyric twists as the saxes lilt and lope to form a backdrop that is equal parts Eastern modalism, modern classicism, and Latin jazz. The horns take the head through modal harmonic terrain before dropping out; the rhythm section locks in Clayton's canny solo that allows for Smith's solo re-entry in a wide-open space. "A Light" offers an abstract, Spanish-flavored take on the motif before the rest of the band enters. Richardson's compelling, even bracing, alto break bridges Clayton's percussive chord voicings and angled arpeggios to introduce Smith's solo, which is offered with David S. Ware-esque physicality, lyricism, and control before the band explore alongside him. Bud Powell's "Celia" is rendered by the trio. Clayton offers a deliberative solo remark on its tonal structure to introduce a rhythm section on stun. The other members push the pianist hard and he responds with exuberant swing. The other trio tune is an emotionally resonant "Body and Soul." Opening again with a piano solo, Clayton liberally extracts fragments of the melody to erect a vulnerable but resonant intro. Sanders and Gilmore whisper under his keyboard as he injects nuance to command the harmony. "Envisionings" is a modal blues with muscular soloing from Smith and Richardson amid forceful rhythmic invention and harmonic discovery. Duke Ellington's "Take the Coltrane" closes the set with a Monk-like piano intro (you can hear traces of "You Needn't" in its cadence) before drums and bass enter double time, and the horns deliver the knotty head in staggered tandem, stretching time and swing. Everyone gets to solo in this 14-minute monolith; they lock on to Duke's orgiastic collision of harmony and rhythm, exploring its implications by rendering new statements rather than repeat the plainly stated motifs in an arresting conclusion. Happening: Live at the Village Vanguard is a splendid example of Clayton's arrival as a master possessed of enviable and original technique and a kaleidoscopic imagination. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 26, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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