Friday, December 20, 2019
"Blue Notes": THE WEEKEND MIX
Back in February of this year, Blue Note Records began a series of audiophile releases called the "Tone Poet" series, records from the Blue Note catalogue that cover lesser-known classics and modern-era standouts, all lovingly analog mastered by the amazing Kevin Gray. I read a review of one of the titles, "Contours" by Sam Rivers, and decided to give it a shot. Rivers' Blue Note debut, "Fuchsia Swing Song," is one of my favorite jazz records of all time. "Contours," a 1965 session, was new to me and features Rivers, Ron Carter, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Chambers and what I believe is the very first Blue Note appearance of a kid named Herbie Hancock. To the point, the session killed me, the sound quality of the LP was superb and the packaging was in a word, stunning.
Now this will annoy some of you but, there is something about this series and all I've mentioned above, that just wouldn't do it for me digitally. It's the whole experience of the package, the smell of the vinyl, the needle drop and the warm analog sound. Plus, it's a series. Like baseball cards. Buy one at a time. Collect them all. I still think this whole record collecting thing is fun and what loving music is all about.
Needless to say, I've been in a mood. A Blue Note jazz mood. There is a sound and style that differs from say, an Impulse session or a Riverside session. I thought I'd put together a Weekend Mix of some personal faves. Sadly, I don't have any of the Tone Poet series in my digital catalogue, so none of those releases are included.
I do think what I've chosen for this mix will make some of you very happy. I don't talk about jazz enough on these pages. That is a choice. Partly because, the rare occasions when I have, response was worse than usual. But also, I don't feel I can write about jazz with the same confidence as I do rock and roll. Maybe that will change in 2020, especially if the response to this mix is more than crickets. I hope many of you take a chance and give this mix a spin. Maybe you only think it wouldn't be for you. And once again may I stress, if you still love vinyl and you love the Blue Note catalogue, dig in to this Tone Poet series. It's the bees knees. By audiophile vinyl standards, the records are not expensive. I just jumped for my next title, Lou Donaldson's "Mr Shing A Ling" for $22.
(CORRECTION: Sam Rivers "Contours" was not Herbie Hancock's first Blue Note appearance. His first was another record in the Tone Poet series, Donald Byrd's "Chant" from 1961. I knew I read it somewhere.)
(I couldn't decide on a Blakey track, so there are two.)
April In Paris- Thad Jones
The All Seeing Eye- Wayne Shorter
Un Poco Loco- Bud Powell
Sister Sadie- Horace Silver
I Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry- Dexter Gordon
The Surrey With The Fringe On Top- Sonny Rollins
Like Someone In Love- Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
Undercurrent- Kenny Drew
Softly As In A Morning Sunrise- Larry Young
A Night In Tunisia- Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
Posted by Sal Nunziato at 4:33 AM