…What really shines on JuJu is the songwriting. From the African-influenced title track (with its short, hypnotic, repetitive phrases) to the mesmerizing interplay between Tyner and Shorter on "Mahjong," the album (which is all originals) blooms with ideas, pulling in a world of influences and releasing them again as a series of stunning, complete visions.
'Bout Soul does not mean the same thing as soul-jazz, as the opening track "Soul" makes abundantly clear. Written by Grachan Moncur III and poet Barbara Simmons, "Soul" is a tonally free tone-poem that features Simmons' spoken recital. It's about what the concept of soul is, not what soul music is, and that should not come as a surprise to anyone acquainted with Jackie McLean's work. Even as his Blue Note contemporaries were working commercial soul-jazz grooves, McLean pushed the borders of jazz, embracing the avant-garde and free jazz.
On this 1965 session for Blue Note, alto saxophonist Jackie McLean leads a stellar ensemble that includes trumpeter Lee Morgan and drummer Billy Higgins. All of the musicians are in excellent form here, with McLean and Morgan offering up tightly woven melodic threads that carefully unfurl into outstanding solos. Higgins's commanding kit work, however, garners as much attention as the horns, with his frenetic playing providing both the music's heartbeat and its most thrillingly freewheeling moments (see the last half of the opener, "Bluesanova," for strong evidence of the latter). With the exception of "My Old Flame," all of the songs on CONSEQUENCE are McLean or Morgan originals, and the energetic performances of these inventive tunes make this a classic hard-bop date.
The use of multiphonics in jazz has been mastered by very few players, and while at times shrill and thin, can be enlivening and exciting. Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Albert Mangelsdorff set the gold standard, while several trumpeters like Rayse Biggs and Corey Wilkes have tried it with two brass instruments, and contemporary saxophonist Jeff Coffin gives it ago. George Braith holds a singularly unique place in the pantheon of these stylistas, following the path of Kirk in playing two saxophones while combining bop and soul-jazz. This set represents the complete works of Braith on Blue Note in 1963 and 1964 from the albums Two Souls in One, Soul Stream, and Extension.
US original of another lost epic LP and easily one of the rarest and the most obscure "EPIC" releases… A sort of pop/folk/rock affair with a baroque delicacy, light psych vibes in spot, nice alternate female/male vocals with outlandish lyrics, real beautiful arrangements and melodies,hovering between orchestral psychedelia, lounge and unclassifyable far-outness…this duo is backed by many of the "Blonde On Blonde" Dylan session musicians, including Bob Johnston at the helm, Charlie Daniels, Charlie McCoy, Kenneth Buttrey, Wayne Moss…
Grant Green's third album to be released, Grantstand teams the clear-toned guitarist with an unlikely backing group of musicians who rarely appeared with Blue Note otherwise: tenor saxophonist Yusef Lateef (who doubles on flute), organist Brother Jack McDuff, and drummer Al Harewood. Although Lateef was beginning to delve deeply into Eastern tonalities and instruments around the same time, his playing here is pretty straightforward and swinging, fitting the relaxed, bop-tinged soul-jazz that makes up most of the session.
Recorded in 1964 immediately after leaving the Miles Davis Quintet, Sam Rivers' Fuchsia Swing Song is one of the more auspicious debuts the label released in the mid-'60s. Rivers was a seasoned session player (his excellent work on Larry Young's Into Somethin' is a case in point) and a former member of Herb Pomeroy's Big Band before he went out with Davis. By the time of his debut, Rivers had been deep under the influence of Coltrane and Coleman, but wasn't willing to give up the blues just yet. Hence the sound on Fuchsia Swing Song is one of an artist who is at once very self-assured, and in transition.
One of the most successful of Blue Note's 'blue' period and an album that remains his finest work. Although his tenor sax occasionally grates, this is a brilliant example of late bebop. Supported by Bud Powell (piano), Kenny Clarke (drums) and Pierre Michelot (bass), the simple quartet sound coolly in control. 'Willow Weep For Me' is played with great beauty and 'A Night in Tunisia' is yet another well-crafted version. The wonderful bonus of 'Our Love Is Here To Stay' and 'Like Someone In Love' (from Powell's Alternate Takes) on the CD reissue puts this album in the first division.