All that's jazz... and more

As a part of the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Blue Note Record there is now an exclusive iTunes store dedicated to placing all the label’s catalogue in one convenient place. During the course of the coming year 100 Blue Note albums will be made available in the Mastered for iTunes format ensuring the best quality through increased audio fidelity, more closely replicating what the artists, recording engineers, and producers originally intended.

The Blue Note destination will highlight current and classic releases, including a monthly Artist Spotlight that begins today with Don Was taking a look at the landmark Blue Note recordings of the legendary keyboardist and composer Herbie Hancock, whose Blue Note catalog includes his debut album Takin’ Off, recorded 1962, along with numerous classics such as My Point Of View, Empyrean Isles, Maiden Voyage, and Speak Like A Child.

New releases featured today at include a 75-track anniversary collection titled Blue Note 75 that spans the label’s entire history as well as six exclusive introductory 10-track Blue Note 101 compilations. A series of Blue Note Select collections will also be featured beginning with Miles Davis’ Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums on May 19, and Clifford Brown’s Brownie Speaks: The Complete Blue Note Recordings, which will be released June 10.

Those of you in the USA can also check out Blue Note Radio – one of the first label branded stations on iTunes Radio – thatwill stream tracks covering all 75 years of Blue Note Jazz from Thelonious Monk to Robert Glasper. The station will continually grow as new music is released, including recent albums from Ambrose Akinmusire (The imagined savior is far easier to paint), Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band (Landmarks), and Takuya Kuroda (Rising Son), as well as upcoming releases from Bobby Hutcherson/David Sanborn/Joey DeFrancesco, Joe Lovano/Dave Douglas, Jason Moran, Wayne Shorter, and more.


Read More

Comments (1)

giai01 May 7th at 7:45am

Reblogged this on Giai01's Blog and commented:

It’s time for us to leave the Cheltenham Jazz Festival but before we actually depart leafy Montpelier Gardens, the festival site, we thought we’d give you a review of what made this year’s gathering so very good – the best yet in the views of many regulars we talked with.

We’ve already posted about the fabulous Friday Night is Music Night, hosted by the BBC. People spent all weekend talking of it and it really was that good – how often do you get to a 70 piece band with a full string section and seasoned jazz men playing together? Saturday was, for many, ‘Loose Tubes Day’. The appearance of the 20 strong collective, their first in 20 years, was eagerly anticipated and it didn’t disappoint. Playing a mixture of old material and newly commissioned compositions by BBC Radio 3 it was pure delight. With Django Bates conducting much of it from his keyboard it was tight, fresh and above all, just how many of the audience remembered them. A show of hands had maybe a third of the packed Big Top having seen the band, “back in the day.” As one of the band quipped, “the rest of you were probably not born when we were around in the old days.” Among the new compositions was one named, ‘Smoke & Daffodils’ which was outstanding.

Among the other highlights of Saturday was Denys Babptiste and his composition, ‘Now Is The Time’ marking the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assignation. It was everything it was hoped it would be and more. Robert Cray brought his unique blend of blues and soul to the Big Top; his four piece of Hammond B3, bass, drums and Cray’s stellar guitar work was superb. For some it was a rush to take the 10 minutes walk to the Town Hall for Kurt Elling’s solo show. Whereas in the big band setting he was outstanding, his performance hit a new level with his four piece band of piano/organ, bass, guitar and drums. Elling’s vocals are exposed in all their glory and he took the audience on a musical journey in songs of love from France, Poland, Cuba, England and America. When it was over the audience were left, wanting more… it’s the sign of consummate performer that he did just that.

While all this was happening Jamie Cullum broadcast his BBC Radio 2 show, live from the backstage area, which at times was technically demanding and it was to Jamie’s credit that he held the thing together so brilliantly and proved that he is a master of radio, much like he is at the keyboard and microphone. Late night Saturday at the Town Hall was the eagerly awaited appearance of Snarky Puppy and their funked-up modernized take on all things 70s –there were hints of the Ohio Players, Earth Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder meets the Funk Brothers – is it jazz? Who knows, and who cares when it is so popular and brings people to the world of jazz. Their set was followed by Gilles Peterson who played his usual eclectic mix of world, hip hop, afro beats and in this 75th year of Blue Note a good smattering of classics from the label.

Sunday lunchtime may not be the obvious time for jazz – unless it’s a Sunday brunch with a three piece going through the GAS with more intent than panache. However, we were treated to Ambrose Akinmusire (pronounced Akin-muse-ery) and his unique and beautiful chamber jazz. Much of his set was from his new Blue Note album, the brilliant, ‘The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier to Paint’. Along with pianist Sam Harris, drummer Justin Brown, and Harish Raghavan on bass Ambrose weaved a kind of magic rarely heard from jazz trumpeters these days. The audience was captivated and there was a sense of having witnessed something very special on appropriately, a Sunday. We missed Jake Isaac and Lake Street Dive but caught them later doing a couple of acoustic numbers and what is clear is that Isaac is a star turn. Other standouts from Sunday were veteran drummer Billy Cobham who gave a master class in drumming brilliance and also Liane Carroll was back doing her trio thing and it was further proof of her immense talent.

For many the highlight of Sunday was the return of Cheltenham’s own prodigal son, Gregory Porter. He’s been claimed by many Cheltenham Ladies as their own and there were not a few men who fell under his spell with his unique take on jazz, Marvin Gaye and deep soul. His voice commands respect and his stage presence is huge and he did not disappoint with the audience in raptures – with the added bonus of Akinmusire guesting on trumpet. There are still some who have not heard his Blue Note album, ‘Liquid Spirit’, which to those of us who have been n his secret for so long find strange, but then again they are in for a special treat – hearing it for the first time. Quite simply it is a game-changer. From 9pm until 11 Clare Teal was broadcasting live from the backstage area and like Jamie did an outstanding job – as well as singing quite a few songs. We caught the last part of the show and her afternoon rehearsal with her trio at which she did a beautiful version of Peggy Lee’s ‘The Folks Who Live On the Hill’ among others.

Sadly we shall be missing Curtis Stigers’s solo show on Monday as well as Jools Holland and his Rhythm And Blues Orchestra with Gregory Porter as his special guest.

Ian George. the Festival’s director, does an amazing job in collecting together so much talent in one place and the way the whole thing is organised leaves most festivals in the shade. Kudos! Like Kurt Elling did we’ve been left wanting more, which means we shall definitely  be back next year.

Read More

Comments (0)


Curtis Stigers in the Big Top

Last evening, a packed Big Top at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival was entertained by the BBC Concert Orchestra, The Guy Barker Big Band, Liane Carroll, Curtis Stigers and Kurt Elling – and what entertainment it was. Hosted by Jeremy Vine it was all themed around Prohibition, Al Capone, the ‘halcyon days’ of New York and Chicago’s speakeasies, the famous Cotton Club and a time when swing was the thing, torch songs and the singers with the big bands were not just jazz, they was pop!

Broadcast live on the BBC’s Friday Night Is Music Night the evening opened with Sing, Sing, Sing, Louis Prima’s classic made famous by Benny Goodman’s Orchestra with Gene Krupa. It was a scintillating way to start with the horns, the full sized string section and some powerhouse drumming on Guy Barker’s arrangement made this the perfect opener. Appropriately the evening closed with a medley of Louis Prima classics including Jump, Jive & Wail…by which time The Joint is Jumpin‘ – the Fats Waller song had been performed with stylish, effortless panache half way through the concert by Curtis, Kurt and Liane.

Many in the audience had probably never seen Kurt Elling perform live and when he finished his opening number, Blue Skies there was a momentary pause before some thunderous applause from an audience that was in shock at the dexterity of his vocals. he went on to sing I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, I Like The Sunrise, an awesome version of Cab Calloway’s Minnie The Moocher (it felt like we were all back in the Cotton Club in ’31) with some help from the audience on vocals and his closing solo number was Ellington’s Tootie For Cootie to which Elling had put words to trumpet player Cootie Williams’s solos – it was quiet simply astonishing – and wonderful. Kurtis Stigers, who has played the festival before is a more traditional jazz singer than Elling but he was a huge hit, giving us, Someday You’ll be sorry ( a rarity, a Louis Armstrong composition), the fabulous, I Found a Million Dollar Baby in a 5 & 10 Cents Store and a quiet, understated but simply beautiful version of Blame It On My Youth. Curtis Stigers is a singer who is way more substance than he is flash, making him one of the best modern-day interpreters of the Great American Songbook.

And then there was Liane. She opened with a stunning version of Ethel Waters, Stormy Weather, another staple of the Cotton Club. Later there was Midnight Sun, a sassy Love For Sale and Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be). These were all brilliant but the showstopper was The Man I Love – who can forget Billie Holiday with Lester Young absolutely killing this number in 1939? While No one could forget Lady Day, let me tell you Liane managed to redefine this song in a way that made it all her own last night.

After the concert we went back to the Hotel Du Vin where, after midnight, both Kurt and Liane jammed in that way that jazz musicians who love their craft do. Giving freely of themselves, their talent and their time. Some people who had dined there earlier and stayed on when the music started were initially unaware of what they were in for. What they got was world class singers giving of their best.


Read More

Comments (0)

“The history of jazz tells of the power of music to bring together artists from different cultures and backgrounds, as a driver of integration and mutual respect. […] Through jazz, millions of people have sung and still sing today their desire for freedom, tolerance and human dignity. ”

Irina Bokova, Director General UNESCO
Message for International Jazz Day 2014

We have put together a brand new playlist, It’s OK To Like Jazz… you bet it is…

Read More

Comments (9)

Abigail April 30th at 11:32am

There seems to be an error with the playlist! It might just be on my end, but I'm dying to take a listen!

jazzlabels April 30th at 11:34am

If you're having trouble on Spotify try Deezer

raquelrojas April 30th at 2:24pm

Reblogged this on My Spiritual Journey and commented:
Happy International Jazz Day!

Sushiana ManshuruTamaki April 30th at 3:23pm

Love Jazz !!!

romeo dela cruz April 30th at 8:26pm

jazz is cool

Blanca Parra April 30th at 8:27pm

Reblogged this on bparramosqueda and commented:
International Jazz Day!

Khotso April 30th at 8:27pm

Long live jazz music

jacobaudrey May 1st at 12:51pm

Reblogged this on Musics and Souls and commented:
International Jazz Day

Robin Robinson May 4th at 1:53am

I love Jazz alot!!!

Duke Ellington was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. He wrote wonderful, popular, music and songs, extended jazz works, suites as well as sacred music. Versatility was what the Duke was all about – he was the Renaissance man of jazz. Acknowledged as one of the greatest composers in jazz his innovative arrangements featured his piano playing against a rich, deep sound played by the brilliant musicians of his orchestra. Over five hundred of the best jazz players in the world passed through his ranks. We have put together a gallery of photos and why not check out our playlist…

Hear Duke here…

duke-ellington_edited-1-copy ellington1z-copy duke-ellington-copy-2 730410-duke-ellington duke-elliongton_edited-1-copy

Read More

Comments (3)

Stephen Orena April 30th at 12:34am

Happy birthday Duke Ellington, and thanks so much for music!

Ralph E. Gipson April 30th at 6:31am

Duke Ellington was the epitome of style and sophistication. Add to that his genius for music and you have the one of a kind...Duke Ellington.

Duke Ellington | gnogongo May 1st at 11:34am

[…]… […]

We’ve just had a very long and illuminating chat with Paul Bacon, the first designer with Blue Note Records, who subsequently worked with Riverside and did a great many album sleeve designs for Bill Grauer and Orin Keepnews. Bacon was good friends with Monk, met him the first time he visited Blue Note’s offices and when Bacon went to work for Riverside he did almost all of Monk’s album covers, including the one where he’s sitting in the little red cart. Paul told us how it happened.

“Harris Levine, my friend, who worked in Riverside’s design department, photographer Paul Weller and I were with Monk trying to get him to go along with our idea for shooting the cover for the album, ‘Monk’s Music.’ Monk was having none of it, he hated our ideas and we were going nowhere. Monk got really upset and walked over to the other part of the studio and sat in the little red delivery cart. I saw this out the corner of my eye and kept Harris talking and then quietly indicated to Paul to get a camera. Paul walked on over to Monk and Monk looked up from the score he was studying, nodded, and Paul took the shot. It worked out pretty good.”

Paul kindly shared some other stories with us and we’ll be featuring them regularly here on the Jazz Word.

Hear Monk’s Music here…


Read More

Comments (0)

Gigs to savour


Read More

Comments (5)

Fernando Ortiz de Urbina April 23rd at 10:26pm

Personnel are John Coltrane's classic quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones.

Miles Davis's sextet was a temporary band formed after Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb left, with Frank Strozier (as), George Coleman (ts), Harold Mabern (p), Ron Carter (b), and Frank Butler (d). This was one of Ron Carter's earliest gigs with Miles.

TSUNEO KAWAGIRI April 24th at 9:12am

I like prestage album.

Cleo France April 24th at 3:45pm

Love Coltrane and Miles

oscar April 29th at 3:21pm

is there a bootleg or recording of this particular Miles combo? anyone know?

jazzlabels April 29th at 3:23pm

There's no recording of this as far as we know…and we don't deal in bootlegs :)

After Alfred Lion quit Blue Note Records in 1967, following the purchase of the label he founded by Liberty Records, there was a period of rapid change for the company; a period that some continue to feel was not a good one for Blue Note. Yet it was the music from this era of flux that hip-hop artists would rediscover towards the end of the 20th century. Lou Donaldson’s ‘It’s Your Thing’ and Jack McDuff’s ‘Oblighetto’, (both recorded in 1969), along with Grant Green’s ‘Down Here on the Ground’ (recorded in 1970), are from albums that, as a body of work, have not held up, but which have nevertheless proved influential. The most sampled Blue Note recording is Lou Donaldson’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’, recorded in October 1967, in the month after Lion’s retirement, and released the following year on the album Mr Shing-A-Ling.

Hear Ode To Billie Joe here


Read More

Comments (0)

Thumbin’ a riff

20th April, 2014
posted in: Uncategorized

Jim Mullen is a legend and it’s great to read Richard Williams’s piece honouring him. If you get the chance try to see Jim play live, you will not be disappointed. We saw him about 4 years ago at a private gig in Sussex and he was superb; the gig was headlined by another guitar wizard, Jan Ackerman – he’s another not to be missed.

Read More

Comments (0)