With his second album Black Action Figure, Stefon Harris still is finding his footing as an innovator, yet he is well on his way to developing his own exciting sense of style. At its core, this is fairly traditionalist hard bop, but there is energy and unpredictability to Harris' playing that makes it feel chancier – and he does push harder at the borders of bop this time around. That added sense of adventure, along with the robust spirit of his supporting band, makes Black Action Figure another winner for Harris.
Features SHM-CD format and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. Alligator Bogaloo is one example of Lou Donaldson's successful combinations of hard bop and soul-jazz. Of the six tunes, three are Donaldson originals, including the title hit. The excellent band, consisting of Melvin Lastin, Sr. on cornet, George Benson on guitar, Lonnie Smith on organ, and Leo Morris on drums, mixes laid-back vamps beneath driving hard bop charts. As the '60s turned into the '70s, Donaldson began shaving off hard bop invention for a more radio-friendly and 45 rpm length, leaving soulful – yet monotonous – vamping. At that point, Donaldson's material suffered from a lack of originality. That's not the case on Alligator Bogaloo.
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. A stone killer from organist Lonnie Smith – one of his completely cooking early albums for Blue Note, and a hard-burner all the way through! Smith's working here with a really great group that includes Idris Muhammad on drums and Melvin Sparks on guitar – both of whom give the album a really heavy bottom, and almost make the set feel like one of those classic Prestige jammers from the same time.
One of the great jazz trumpeters of all time, Freddie Hubbard formed his sound out of the Clifford Brown/Lee Morgan tradition, and by the early '70s was immediately distinctive and the pacesetter in jazz.
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.
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. Amazing stuff by Ronnie Foster – a sweet little album of slow funky keyboard tones, much more loosely arranged than his later work, with a dope groove that was years ahead of its time! The album's in some ways a blueprint for some of our favorite jazz-based hip hop – and although Ronnie's playing organ, on most of the cuts, he handles the instrument more like it's a Fender Rhodes! Funky jazz with a sinister, soulful groove – with players including Gene Bianco on harp, Arthur Jenkins on congas, George Duvivier and Gordon Edwards on bass, Jimmy Johnson on drums, Gerorge Dvens on vibes and Gene Gertoncini on guitar. Includes the massive cut "Mystic Brew", which is a tasty Tribe sample, plus lots of other goodies like "Chunky", "Summer Song", and "Don't Knock My Love".
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. Tremendous work by Lee Morgan – easily one of his greatest albums, and a soaring session of modal energy that easily rivals the best work of the Impulse era! The album's got a slightly different feel than usual for Blue Note – a sense of freedom, joy, and soaring energy that's totally great – explored by a crack group that features Morgan on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor, Harold Mabern on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums – all coming together with a unique sense of creativity!
To say that this limited-edition six-LP Mosaic box is overflowing with classics is an understatement. Included are a variety of small-group sessions (with overlapping personnel) from the early days of Blue Note. The Edmond Hall Celeste Quartet has five songs that are the only existing examples of Charlie Christian playing acoustic guitar; clarinetist Hall, Meade Lux Lewis (on celeste), and bassist Israel Crosby complete the unique group. The king of stride piano, James P. Johnson, is heard on eight solos; other combos are led by Johnson, Hall (who heads four groups in all), trumpeter Sidney DeParis, and trombonist Vic Dickenson (heard in a 1952 quartet with organist Bill Doggett).
A lost treasure from the legendary Thelonious Monk – a live date recorded in Paris at the end of the 60s – late in Monk's life, and every bit as wonderful as his famous 60s studio work with his quartet! Of that group, only Charlie Rouse remains on tenor sax – but Rouse is more than enough to make things great, and the interplay between his tenor and Monk's piano is completely sublime – full of angular movements, underscored with plenty of soul – and given support from Nate Hygelund on bass and either Paris Wright or Philly Joe Jones on drums. There's a rough edge to the music that's really great – that sharper, more sinister vibe that Monk could have in a live setting – and titles include "Light Blue", "Bright Mississippi", "I Mean You", "Ruby My Dear", "I Love You Sweetheart Of All My Dreams", "Crepuscule With Nellie", and "Nutty". Special package comes with a bonus DVD of the performance!
Centered around the Byrd/Adams Blue Note dates Byrd in Hand, Chant, Royal Flush, The Cat Walk, and Off to the Races, Mosaic's Complete Blue Note Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Studio Sessions finds the Detroit natives at the top of their game during 1959-1962. Writing and performing some of the most original and tight hard bop around, Byrd and Adams led a variety of combos that featured the likes of Herbie Hancock (his first session), Wynton Kelly, Duke Pearson (who also contributed material), Charlie Rouse, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins. From distinct covers ("Lover Come Back to Me") to seamlessly complex originals ("Bronze Dance"), Byrd's pure-toned trumpet and Adams' angular baritone unexpectedly make a perfect match. And beyond a wealth of sides that prove the point, the collection also features – in typically thorough and classy Mosaic fashion – some stunning session photos by Blue Note lensman Francis Wolff and an extensive essay by Bob Blumenthal. A hard bop experience of the highest order.