Grant Green - Matador (1964)
Great Grant Green solos, take 4
As with the previous post featuring Joe Henderson, the presence of McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones—two thirds of Coltrane’s legendary rhythm section—fires up the proceedings with virtuosic spice, laying down plenty of track for Green to zoom.
Stanley Turrentine - Niger Mambo (1964)
Many unreleased Blue Note sessions from major artists were later released belatedly on LP in the late 1970s and 80s, but without the commensurate creative commitment to the art or sound quality that previous Blue Note efforts contained…in spades. This likely explains why the “LT series” is much-maligned. However, the music in many cases deserves a deeper dive:
Let’s face it - the LT series of Blue Notes never got a whole lotta love. They came on LP with average pressings, and subpar sound for the most part, at least nowhere near the original BN RVG sound. The cover art was universally despised, being such a great departure from the ‘classic’ BN look. And at the time, many considered this to be a series of leftovers, a barrel scraping exercise to wring a last round of profits by United Artists from their acquisition of Blue Note. Subsequent reissues have done little to re-evaluate these titles, and they have never been reissued as a comprehensive series - until now.
Having finally heard this long-sought-after Turrentine session with Herbie Hancock in the pianist’s chair, it is safe to say there is much to mine in this rich LT series vein. This Bobby Benson composition as interpreted here sounds like almost nothing else in the Blue Note catalog, a true diamond from the archives.
Post Script: Thanks to Atane for correcting my misinformation.
Hank Mobley - Soft Impression (1966)
In my head for days…
Horace Silver - African Queen (1965)
This was the first Blue Note CD I bought with my own money, back in 1989. My pops had made a passing remark about Silver’s music being groovy, so I (randomly) chose this one from the stack. It turned out to be a good choice.
Joe Henderson and Woody Shaw’s modernist stylings make up a dream front line on this recording, and Roger Humphries’ drum work on this cut illustrates why he became Silver’s go-to drummer in the mid-60s.
Bob Cranshaw performing at the 52nd Street Jazz Fair, NYC, July 6 1976 (photo by Tom Marcello [Thanks Atane])
Hank Mobley - Advance Notion (1967)
To these ears, this is one of those quintessential Blue Note records, and with the likes of JMac, Bob Cranshaw, Billy Higgins, John Hicks and Horace Silver veteran Blue Mitchell alongside the Mobe, the swing is relentless.
Listen to Billy Higgins’ energy on this entire track, as well as his sympathetic snare behind Mobley’s solo. It’s a tour de force.
McCoy Tyner (with Bob Cranshaw) during Stanley Turrentine’s Mr. Natural session, Englewood Cliffs NJ, September 4 1964 (photo by Francis Wolff)
Session audio: Wahoo (aka Stanley’s Blues), Tacos
Horace Silver - Serenade to a Soul Sister (1968)
From Horace Silver’s liner notes for the LP:
THE THEME of this record is love. Here you will find love music played by a group of musicians who have a certain empathy and love for each other and for people. From the music right down to the LP cover and the liner notes this is my production. The only thing I haven’t supervised is the pressing of this record which I leave in the capable hands of Blue Note. Rather than go into who played what solo on what track and how they played it, I would prefer to comment on the musicians first and then explain a little something about the compositions.
This recording was done in two sessions. The first session included Stanley Turrentine, Charles Tolliver, Bob Cranshaw, and Mickely Roker. The songs recorded were Psychedelic Sally, Serenade To A Soul Sister, and Rain Dance. Stanley Turrentine is a giant on his instrument and the epitome of soul. It was a ball having him on the date. Charles Tolliver is one of the jazz world’s fine young trumpeters. Bob Cranshaw, who I call Mr. Instant Copp—because he not only plays so well but learns so fast, was a great asset to the date. Mickey Roker might also be called Mr. Instant Copp because he catches on so fast and gives you just what you want.
“Mr. Instant Copp.”
Bob Cranshaw during Lee Morgan’s Delightfulee session, Englewood Cliffs NJ, April 8 or May 27 1966 (photo by Francis Wolff)
Bobby Hutcherson - Mirrors (1963)
Friday afternoon vibes care of Bobby Hutcherson, recorded one month after and with the same personnel as Grant Green’s seminal Idle Moments.
This would have been Bobby Hutcherson’s first LP as a leader for Blue Note, but it wasn’t released until 1999 as part of the Blue Note Connoisseur Series. This Joe Chambers piece offers a premonitory glimpse at the type of sound that Hutcherson and Chambers would cultivate throughout the 60s together.
Stanley Turrentine - Tacos (1964)
Unreleased in its time, underplayed in ours, this session and this Lee Morgan tune deserved better.
The mind-boggling personnel on hand for this session makes you scratch your head in 2011 and wonder what the actual f*ck Alfred Lion was thinking in 1964 when he shelved it. Thank god the Japanese love Blue Note jazz, or this session might still be gathering dust.
Jackie McLean - Poor Eric (1965)
From Ira Gitler’s original liner notes:
These tracks are, however, representative of but one side of McLean’s artistry. No better complement to this could there be than the haunting “Poor Eric,” a dream-like dirge penned by Larry Willis and dedicated to the memory of the late Eric Dolphy.
From Bob Blumenthal’s RVG liner notes:
“Poor Eric,” one of the most heart-rending themes of what was a very fertile period for jazz composition, was tailor-made for the saxophonist’s undisguised anguish, and the decision to have Bob Cranshaw bow the melody in unison with the leader makes the sense of loss even more acute.
Bobby Hutcherson - The Kicker (1963)
This bright, soon-to-be-made-famous-by-Horace-Silver tune by Joe Henderson would have featured on Bobby Hutcherson’s first Blue Note LP, recorded just a month and a half after the exact same personnel came together for Grant Green’s groundbreaking Idle Moments. Bummer these tracks didn’t see the light of day for another 36 years.