Eric Truffaz has covered a lot of ground - both literally and metaphorically - since releasing his first album on the Blue Note label in 1996. Recorded in several locations but cut to sound like a single concert, Face-a-Face reveals the success of this artist who, with consistency and determination, has travelled a long road to success that has been filled with detours, long stretches in the fast lane and occasional pit stops, but which has never veered away from the source of his originality and the happiness of his waking dream. For Truffaz, each concert is a chance to meet his public "face à face". And it's this exchange between musicians and their audiences - the source of his inspiration - that Truffaz has set out…
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). Carried by its almost impossibly infectious eponymous opening track, The Sidewinder helped foreshadow the sounds of boogaloo and soul-jazz with its healthy R&B influence and Latin tinge. While the rest of the album retreats to a more conventional hard bop sound, Morgan's compositions are forward-thinking and universally solid. Only 25 at the time of its release, Morgan was accomplished (and perhaps cocky) enough to speak of mentoring the great Joe Henderson, who at 26 was just beginning to play dates with Blue Note after getting out of the military.
Jazz has always had a soft spot for pop music. Icons like trumpeter Louis Armstrong blessed the masses with his positivity and raspy voice in 1967's "What a Wonderful World" and saxophonist John Coltrane transformed Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1960 musical smash "My Favorite Things" into a swinging affair. Fast forward to 2014 as singer, songwriter and producer Jose James continues the practice with a fine rendition of 1972's "Simply Beautiful" by the one-time prince of R&B, vocalist Al Green.
Issued just after his landmark two-week June 1998 gig at the Village Vanguard and subsequent U.S./Canada tour, Chucho Valdйs' first album for Blue Note bears out a lot of the hype surrounding this hugely gifted Cuban pianist. Unlike many of today's younger Cuban keyboard hotshots, Valdйs not only has great technical chops and musical erudition, he manages to stay closely tied to his Cuban rhythmic roots. Thus, he employs a Cuban percussionist Roberto Vizcaino Guillot along with the standard bass (Alain Pйrez Rodriguez) and drums (Raъl Pнсeda Roque), which dramatically increases the possibilities for rhythmic experiments. Valdes more often than not is all over the keyboard, comfortable with everything from Ravel-ian classical complexity to Bill Evans' introspection to Cecil Taylor-like crunches.
On his fourth studio effort and first for Blue Note Records, 2017's Parking Lot Symphony, New Orleans singer, songwriter, and brass wizard Troy Andrews (aka Trombone Shorty) fully embraces the organic '70s-style R&B he’s heretofore only touched on. Ever since officially debuting in 2010 with Backatown, Andrews has moved ever closer to that '70s soul aesthetic with each subsequent album. Backatown even featured contributions from both Lenny Kravitz and legendary New Orleans pianist Allen Toussaint. In fact, his previous effort, 2013's Say That to Say This, had a similarly old-school bent courtesy of neo-soul master and co-producer Raphael Saadiq. But for Parking Lot Symphony, Andrews dives into the sound full-force, paired with producer Chris Seefried (Fitz & the Tantrums, Haley Reinhart, Andra Day) on a set of songs that bring to mind the earthy, vinyl-laden vibe of '70s artists like New Orleans own the Meters..
This unusual set was one of the most successful uses of a gospel choir in a jazz context. Trumpeter Donald Byrd and a septet that includes tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, guitarist Kenny Burrell, and pianist Herbie Hancock are joined by an eight-voice choir directed by Coleridge Perkinson. The arrangements by Duke Pearson are masterful and one song, "Cristo Redentor," became a bit of a hit. This is a memorable effort that is innovative in its own way, a milestone in Donald Byrd's career.