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Jazz - Released February 8, 2019 | Blue Note

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Vocal Jazz - Released September 2, 2013 | Blue Note

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After two solid albums on Motema, both of which earned Grammy nominations, singer and songwriter Gregory Porter makes his Blue Note debut with Liquid Spirit. A singer whose quicksilver vocal style refuses to be caged by either jazz, gospel, or R&B, his warm, inviting baritone utilizes them all when he wishes to. Using the musicians who appeared with him on 2012's Be Good -- Yosuke Sato and Tivon Pennicott, saxophones; Chip Crawford, piano; Aaron James, bass, Emanuel Harrold, drums -- Porter wrote or co-wrote 11 of these 14 songs. There is a dynamite reading of Billy Page's hard-grooving "The In Crowd" that highlights Porter's rhythmic phrasing. Though it's a soul tune at heart, he swings hard. The cover of Max Roach's and Abbey Lincoln's "Lonesome Lover" evokes the soulful post-bop spirit of the original and offers a bracing portrait of the singer's command of his own upper range. Covers aside, the real strength of Liquid Spirit lies in Porter's songs: his lyrics and melodies are as rich as his voice. Opener "No Love Dying Here" walks a line between jazz and soul; its life-affirming words are underscored by the effortless conviction and authority in his vocal, while Sato's alto saxophone solo affirms the lyric. The fingerpopping, handclapping gospel groove in the title track is punched up by saxophones and Curtis Taylor's trumpet. The call-and-response between Porter and James' bass is tasty, and one can hear a trace of Donny Hathaway in the singer's commanding, heartfelt delivery. "Hey Laura" is characterized by Porter's relaxed but utterly sincere delivery, and packs a knock-out emotional punch in his protagonist's plea to the object of his affection. "Brown Grass" is a close second in the emotional punch department; it's a love song to be sure, but a sadder one. Porter articulates his protagonist's regrets simply and honestly, and therefore resonantly. For all of his innovative ability to effortlessly combine, shift, and shape various musical genres in his own image, Porter is militantly old school -- check "Musical Genocide," as he celebrates the music of the past with a popping piano, hard-grooving horns, funky Rhodes, and swelling B-3. On the tender ballad "Wolfcry," he is accompanied only by Crawford; it's so hip and melodically rich, it could easily have been sung by a young Nat Cole. The way he and his band move through blues, jazz, gospel, and R&B -- simultaneously -- on the declamatory testimonial "Free" is breathtaking. The intro to "Movin'," near set's end, suggests Bill Withers, but Porter quickly shifts it into higher gear with the horns punctuating the ends of his sung lines. While his first two recordings revealed a major new talent with their promise, Liquid Spirit is a giant step forward artistically, and for the listener, an exercise in musical inspiration. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 29, 1956 | Blue Note

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Despite its title, this LP was actually guitarist Kenny Burrell's second Blue Note album, although the first to be released. Teamed with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Kenny Clarke and the conga of Candido, Burrell displays what was already an immediately recognizable tone. At 24, Burrell had quickly emerged to become one of the top bop guitarists of the era, and he is in particularly excellent form on "This Time the Dreams on Me," "Weaver of Dreams" and "Delilah." A bonus of this set is a percussion duo by Clarke and Candido on "Rhythmorama." Enjoyable music. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released December 24, 1965 | Blue Note

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Not counting a couple of sessions he co-led with John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, Complete Communion was the first album Don Cherry recorded as a leader following his departure from the Ornette Coleman Quartet. It was also one of the earliest showcases for the Argentinian tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri, who Cherry discovered during a stay in Rome. While the music on Complete Communion was still indebted to Coleman's concepts, Cherry injected enough of his own personality to begin differentiating himself as a leader. He arranged the original LP as two continuous side-long suites, each of which incorporated four different compositions and was recorded in a single take. In practice, this meant that several melodic themes popped up over the course of each side; all the musicians free-associated off of each theme, engaging in intense, abstract dialogues before moving on to the next. As the album's title suggests, every member of the group not only solos, but shares the total space selflessly. Bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Ed Blackwell both play extremely active roles, especially Grimes, who solos powerfully and sometimes carries the main riffs. Often the music sounds more like a conversation, as opposed to a solo with support, because the musicians make such intelligent use of space and dynamics, and wind up with a great deal of crackling, volatile interplay as a result. The leader remains recognizably himself, and his burnished tone is a nice contrast with Barbieri's fiery approach; for his part, Barbieri's playing has a lot of speechlike inflections, and he spends a lot of time in the upper register of his horn, which makes him sound quite similar to Ornette at times. As a whole, the project comes off remarkably well, establishing Cherry as an avant-garde force to be reckoned with in his own right. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Jazz - Released November 18, 1957 | Blue Note

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Recorded when he was only 19, Candy was one of the first albums (along with The Cooker, recorded the same year) where Lee Morgan showed his own unique style. His prodigal technical virtuosity had already been proven at this time in the Dizzy Gilliespie band, but Morgan's first solo ventures had been remarkable only because of his young age. Here, the influence of some of Morgan's mentors can be seen, but instead of just emulating the style of older trumpeters like Clifford Brown, he has begun absorbing bits and pieces of the phrasing and style of a wide range of musicians, from Gillespie to Miles Davis, then using them to forge his own sound. Morgan places himself front and center here -- there are no other horns to carry the melodic lines, leaving him quite exposed, but he manages to perform beautifully. Not merely a technical marvel, his tone on this album was sweet and his playing fluid, infused with joy and crisply articulated emotion. Morgan would later turn out to be an expert songwriter, but here songs like Buddy Johnson's "Since I Fell for You," and Jimmy Heath's "C.T.A." gave him ample space to show off his talents. © Stacia Proefrock /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 23, 1957 | Blue Note

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Although his is a rather less charming sound than that of a John Coltrane or a Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley is still a master of the tenor saxophone. The famous critic Leonard Feathers, the author of many album liner notes, would describe him "the middleweight champion of tenor sax". With daring solos, often of pleasing complexity, this Georgian who grew up in New Jersey was one of the great standard bearers for that unique hard bop that rang out on several Blue Note albums in the 50s and 60s. It was on this famous label that Mobley, a marathon runner of the recording studio, put out thirty records or more. On this record in particular, the then-27-year-old jazzman is accompanied by Bill Hardman on the trumpet, Curtis Porter on the saxophone, Sonny Clark on the piano, Paul Chambers on double bass, and Art Taylor on drums. A flawless session (as were almost all the Blue Note productions of that era), recorded in a single day (23 June 1957) throughout which Hank Mobley (one year on from leaving the Jazz Messengers, which he had founded with Horace Silver and Art Blakey) carefully ensures that his former bandmates stay focussed on a soothing swing. Across the following decade, with masterpieces like Soul Station (1960), Workout (1961), No Room For Squares (1963) and The Turnaround! (1965), Mobley took another step with an even more original and unique style and sidemen of quite a different calibre (Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd, Andrew Hill, Herbie Hancock, Philly Joe Jones). While we wait for more, this eponymous Hank Mobley and its superb sleeve make for a fine rediscovery. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Blue Note

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Jazz - Released June 23, 1957 | Blue Note

Although his is a rather less charming sound than that of a John Coltrane or a Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley is still a master of the tenor saxophone. The famous critic Leonard Feathers, the author of many album liner notes, would describe him "the middleweight champion of tenor sax". With daring solos, often of pleasing complexity, this Georgian who grew up in New Jersey was one of the great standard bearers for that unique hard bop that rang out on several Blue Note albums in the 50s and 60s. It was on this famous label that Mobley, a marathon runner of the recording studio, put out thirty records or more. On this record in particular, the then-27-year-old jazzman is accompanied by Bill Hardman on the trumpet, Curtis Porter on the saxophone, Sonny Clark on the piano, Paul Chambers on double bass, and Art Taylor on drums. A flawless session (as were almost all the Blue Note productions of that era), recorded in a single day (23 June 1957) throughout which Hank Mobley (one year on from leaving the Jazz Messengers, which he had founded with Horace Silver and Art Blakey) carefully ensures that his former bandmates stay focussed on a soothing swing. Across the following decade, with masterpieces like Soul Station (1960), Workout (1961), No Room For Squares (1963) and The Turnaround! (1965), Mobley took another step with an even more original and unique style and sidemen of quite a different calibre (Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd, Andrew Hill, Herbie Hancock, Philly Joe Jones). While we wait for more, this eponymous Hank Mobley and its superb sleeve make for a fine rediscovery. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz