In Memoriam. Larry Coryell, a guitarist who played rock 'n' roll as a teen but wound up pioneering jazz-rock fusion starting in the mid-1960s and then psychedelic fusion in the early '70s, died on Feb. 19. He was 73. RIP Mr. Coryell. In the 1970s, Germany's Radio Bremen simulcast a series of modern jazz concerts from all across the spectrum, and wisely archived them. Record producer Consul Bodo Jacoby was looking for a new project after losing the rights to reissue the MPS catalog and recalled them. His Promising Music label is issuing a number of these vintage performances in what he calls the Livelove series, of which January 1975 is the first volume.
The Last Southern Gentlemen is a landmark recording for Delfeayo Marsalis, pairing father Ellis Marsalis, Jr. with son on a collaborative album for the first time. Marsalis' finest outing to date, the superb recording quality and meticulous production showcase his brilliant, classically trained tone as it swings effortlessly through standards and original compositions. The music is relaxed, thoughtful and provocative, acknowledging the love and respect of all people shared by Louis Armstrong and most early jazz entertainers. This sense of humanity and humility is at the center of the Southern lifestyle that birthed the original American music. Built on the intimacy of American ballads and the trombone's expressive mimicry of the human voice, The Last Southern Gentlemen is a firm acknowledgement of the existence and importance of these sweet, gentle sounds.
Over the span of his storied and still-unfolding 65-year career, Sonny Rollins has established himself as one of the giants of jazz — a towering influence, a trailblazer, a powerfully creative force in the music. From his earliest masterpieces, such as Saxophone Colossus and Freedom Suite, to his Road Shows archival series of live performances for his Doxy label in the 2000s, Rollins has presented his peerless music without compromise — and to consistent international acclaim. The new CD contains six tracks recorded between 2001 and 2012 in Saitama, Japan; Toulouse, Marseille, and Marciac, France; and St. Louis. “Patanjali,” a striking new Rollins composition, is given its debut recording.
There are guitarists out there who seek to burn an impression of their work into ears and minds, and there are others who manage to make an impression simply by being themselves. Nate Radley falls into the second category. His music isn't forceful, but it still manages to make an impact. On Morphoses, Radley shifts between, and occasionally fuses, low-key modern jazz and Americana language(s).
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and 24 bit remastering. Featuring the work of obscure composer/pianist Todd Cochrane, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson's 1971 album Head On is a highly cerebral and atmospheric affair that is somewhat different than his other equally experimental '70s work. Although the album does feature more of the avant-garde jazz that Hutcherson was exploring during this period, Cochrane's material is heavily influenced by contemporary classical music, and accordingly Head On is more of an exercise in reflective, layered jazz than rambunctious freebop – though it does offer some of that, too.
Reissue. Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (fully compatible with standard CD player) and the latest remastering (24bit 192kHz). Bobby Hutcherson's second quartet session, Oblique, shares both pianist Herbie Hancock and drummer Joe Chambers with his first, Happenings (bassist Albert Stinson is a newcomer). However, the approach is somewhat different this time around. For starters, there's less emphasis on Hutcherson originals; he contributes only three of the six pieces, with one from Hancock and two from the typically free-thinking Chambers. And compared to the relatively simple compositions and reflective soloing on Happenings, Oblique is often more complex in its post-bop style and more emotionally direct (despite what the title may suggest).
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (fully compatible with standard CD player) and the latest remastering (24bit 192kHz). This long-lost Lee Morgan session was not released for the first time until it was discovered in the Blue Note vaults by Michael Cuscuna in 1984; it has still not been reissued on CD. Originals by Cal Massey, Duke Pearson ("Is That So") and Walter Davis, in addition to a couple of surprising pop tunes ("What Not My Love" and "Once in My Lifetime") and Morgan's title cut, are well-played by the quintet (which includes the trumpeter/leader, Hank Mobley on tenor, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Billy Higgins).
Reissue. Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. On Song for My Daughter, his third record for Blue Note, Jack Wilson "changed with the times," to paraphrase one of the record's songs. Like many of his peers on the label, Wilson pursued a pop direction as the '60s drew to a close, which meant he covered pop hits like "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" and "Stormy," and that he recorded the album with a large band augmented by a string section. It is a testament to Wilson's strengths as a pianist that he doesn't get lost in this heavy-handed setting and manages to contribute some typically graceful moments, including the lovely title song.
Lee Morgan's final studio recording before he was murdered was initially released as a two-fer LP, and the original recordings without alternate takes are included here on one CD. This was a fertile creative time for Morgan, as rivals Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw were embracing the electrified sounds of the times and Morgan followed suit. Harold Mabern is on the Fender Rhodes piano, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper proves a formidable front-line mate, and the vibrant Bobbi Humphrey is heard on flute before she commercialized her sound.
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and 24bit remastering. Includes an alternate take of "Blue Train" for the first time in the world. Although never formally signed, an oral agreement between John Coltrane and Blue Note Records founder Alfred Lion was indeed honored on Blue Train – Coltrane's only collection of sides as a principal artist for the venerable label. The disc is packed solid with sonic evidence of Coltrane's innate leadership abilities. He not only addresses the tunes at hand, but also simultaneously reinvents himself as a multifaceted interpreter of both hard bop as well as sensitive balladry – touching upon all forms in between.