Blue Note Records: The Ten Essential Albums

Blue Note Records: The Ten Essential Albums

Ten albums that represent the very best of what made Blue Note the premier jazz label during the golden age of jazz music (a period running roughly 1856 to 1968). They showcase the finest jazz music and artists that emerged during a time when jazz music was at it's commercial and creative peak.

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Complex Beauty: Herbie Hancock - "Speak Like A Child"

Complex Beauty: Herbie Hancock - "Speak Like A Child"

On his second to last recording for Blue Note, Herbie stays on the creative hot streak he was on with Maiden Voyage, this time employing some more complex arrangements to create an absolutely beautiful record that remains one of his great musical statements. 

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Bobby Hutcherson 1941-2016

Bobby Hutcherson 1941-2016

The jazz world lost one of the last living legends from the golden age of jazz when Bobby Hutcherson left us at the age of 75. Here are four live performances that I've been going back to this past week as a reminder of what a giant talent Hutcherson was as both a composer and a performer.

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The Jazz Meets The Funk: Herbie Hancock - "Fat Albert Rotunda"

The Jazz Meets The Funk: Herbie Hancock - "Fat Albert Rotunda"

The jazz world generally looks at Herbie Hancock's 1973 jazz-funk opus Head Hunters as the keyboardist's first foray into combining the world of funk, soul and R&B rhythms with jazz improvisation, but in fact it was four years earlier with Fat Albert Rotunda that Herbie showed how funky jazz music could really be

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Wayne's Brains: Wayne Shorter - "Schizophrenia"

Wayne's Brains: Wayne Shorter - "Schizophrenia"

During his time with Miles, Shorter recorded a series of albums for Blue Note that were all outstanding and some are even considered stone-cold classics (Speak No EvilJuJuAdam's Apple). Towards the end of this run of recordings came Schizophrenia in 1967, a fantastic record that shows off the "two" sides of Shorter - his straight ahead compositions, along with those that moved more into the free jazz and post bop realms. 

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Hank Mobley - "No Room For Squares"

Hank Mobley - "No Room For Squares"

One of my favorite early 1960's record from both Blue Note and my favorite tenor player, No Room For Squares features two different quintets from two 1963 recording sessions. The first, from March 1963, features Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock and Butch Warren, while the second from October 1963 has Lee Morgan, Andrew Hill and John Ore. 

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