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Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

Just Coolin'

    Blue Note Records release Just Coolin’, a never-before-released studio album by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers that was recorded on March 8, 1959 in Rudy Van Gelder's living room studio in Hackensack, New Jersey. The session featured a short-lived line-up of The Jazz Messengers with drummer Art Blakey, trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, pianist Bobby Timmons, and bassist Jymie Merritt. 

    The session for Just Coolin’ finds The Jazz Messengers’ saxophone chair in transition. The band had last recorded in October 1958 when they cemented their place in jazz history with the classic album Moanin’ featuring Benny Golson on tenor saxophone. By July 1959, Blakey had recruited tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter who would remain a fixture of the band until 1964.

    The interim saw the return of Mobley, who was a charter member of The Jazz Messengers when the band first formed in 1954 and appeared on their debut recording The Jazz Messengers At The Café Bohemia in 1955. Mobley also filled an important role as the band’s resident composer. In fact, three of the six tracks on Just Coolin’ were written by Mobley: “Hipsippy Blues,” “M&M,” and “Just Coolin’.”

    However, five weeks after the studio session Blue Note founder and producer Alfred Lion decided to record the band again at the legendary club Birdland in New York City on April 15, 1959, capturing an assured live recording that included four of the six titles that had been recorded in March. The Birdland sessions ended up superseding the studio date when Lion instead released the two-volume live album Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers At The Jazz Corner Of The World later that year.

    “In 2020, it’s great to find more Morgan, Mobley and Timmons in their prime,” writes Bob Blumenthal in the liner notes for Just Coolin’. “The music had clearly settled in during the month that separated studio and live versions, but the fire of these six tracks has an appeal of its own.”

    Now, 61 years later jazz fans all over the world will have the chance to listen for themselves.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP Info: An all-analog 180g vinyl pressing that was mastered by Kevin Gray.

    Ambrose Akinmusire

    On The Tender Spot Of Every Calloused Moment

      Ambrose Akinmusire follows his acclaimed, genre busting best of 2018 manifesto "Origami Harvest" with another visionary statement on his new album "on the tender spot of every calloused moment," which finds the trumpeter examining blackness on an uncompromising set of modern jazz laced with a heavy feeling of the blues. The album presents 11 new compositions by Akinmusire and features his quartet with pianist Sam Harris, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Justin Brown with guest vocals from Genevieve Artadi and Jesus Diaz.

      GoGo Penguin

      GoGo Penguin

        When a musical ensemble chooses to self-title an album mid-career, it usually signifies their conviction that they’ve struck upon the motherlode, hit the jackpot, stepped up and generally arrived at a point they’ve always striven for but never quite attained before.

        Coming from GoGo Penguin at this stage in the game, it’s quite a bold statement: the instrumental trio from Manchester, England have fielded plaudits and rave reviews for inspiration and originality at every turn since 2013,when they settled on their dream line-up of Chris Illingworth (piano), Rob Turner (drums) and Nick Blacka (bass).

        Fusing jazz, classical and electronic influences(amongst others) with a thirst for innovation, they’ve been garlanded as makers of one of the Mercury Prize album of the year (in ’14) and have enjoyed success on record and in the live arena matched by precious few vocal-free groups post-millennium.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        2xColoured LP Info: Indies exclusive double clear coloured vinyl.

        GoGo Penguin present Ocean in a Drop (music for film), a 5 track EP drawing from music originally written for their original live score to Godfrey Reggio’s cult film Koyaanisqatsi. Expect music that moves from fragile beauty to powerful themes that offer both a stand-alone snapshot of the trio’s world and echoes of the images that inspired the music.

        The guitarist’s acclaimed 1961 debut. Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on 28th January 1961. Featuring Baby Face Willette (organ) and Ben Dixon (drums).

        A smouldering soul-jazz / organ trio classic. Featuring three Green originals (‘Miss Ann’s Tempo’, ‘Blues For Willarene’, ‘A Wee Bit O’ Green’), one Willette tune (‘Baby’s Minor Lope’) and two standards (‘Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do’, ‘Lullaby Of The Leaves’).

        Cover photographed by Francis Wolff and designed by Reid Miles.

        The first of Green’s 30 Blue Note solo albums and over 30 appearances as a sideman.


        James Brown

        Slaughters Big Rip-Off (Original Soundtrack)

        James Brown’s original soundtrack album for the 1973 blaxploitation film classic Slaughter’s "Big Rip-Off" gets the 180-gram reissue treatment here, with faithfully replicated artwork including Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off’s gatefold.

        Released in August 1973, "Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off" is the sequel to 1972’s "Slaughter". Set in Los Angeles, the Gordon Douglas-directed mob drama stars Jim Brown, Ed McMahon, Don Stroud, Brock Peters, Gloria Hendry, and Dick Anthony. James Brown’s original soundtrack includes score pieces, plus “Brother Rapp,” Brown’s previously released single which peaked at No.2 onBillboard’s R&B chart and at No. 32 on the Pop chart, as well as “Sexy, Sexy, Sexy,” Brown’s sped-up rework of his 1966 hit, “Money Won’t Change You,” with different lyrics. That track was released as a single from the Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off soundtrack, peaking at No. 6 on Billboard’s R&B chart and at No. 50 on the Pop chart. The soundtrack’s “Happy For The Poor” is a Latin-styled version of the 1971 J.B.’s single, “Gimme Some More.”

        Herbie’s classic debut album was originally recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on 28th May 1962.
        Featuring a truly impressive quintet of Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Dexter Gordon (tenor), Butch Warren (bass) and Billy Higgins (drums), "Takin' Off" is rooted firmly in hard bop but also showcasing the exquisite ballad ‘Alone And I’.
        Features the all-time classic Herbie standard ‘Watermelon Man’, a top 100 pop hit for Herbie and #10 hit for Mongo Santamaria. The famous cover art was designed and photographed by Reid Miles.

        Robert Glasper

        Canvas

        The pianist’s acclaimed, ambitious Blue Note debut, originally recorded at Brooklyn’s Systems Two studios during May 2005.
        Featuring Vicente Archer (bass) and Damon Reid (drums), plus special guest appearances from Mark Turner (tenor sax) on two tracks and Bilal (vocals) on ‘Chant’, “Canvas” features nine original Glasper compositions plus a famous cover version of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Riot’ (which originally appeared on Miles Davis’s Nefertiti album). Rooted in acoustic jazz but with fascinating glimpses of Glasper’s Blue Note future with its jittery, hip-hop-influenced grooves and rolling chord sequences, this remarkable debut put Glasper right in the spotlight.


        Tony Allen & Jeff Mills

        Tomorrow Comes The Harvest EP

        Lock yourself into the beat, but don’t become prisoner to it. The techno pioneer Jeff Mills understands that only too well. In his quest to liberate himself from the tyranny of the sequencer, Mills couldn’t wish for a better partner than the father of Afrobeat.

        Many consider Tony Allen to be one of the greatest drummers alive. In the last thirty years, his signature mix of Nigerian roots, polyglot jazz and no-fuss funkiness has spread like a virus, infecting the work of artists as diverse as Damon Albarn, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Moritz Oswald. Jeff Mills is a titan of the electronic dance scene and a tireless innovator, who helped to give birth to the 1980s Detroit techno scene before going on to compose electro symphonies, soundtracks and sonic odysseys inspired by futurism and space travel, working with visual artists, choreographers, classical orchestras, even astronauts.

        His collaboration with Tony Allen is another rhythmic conversation in a long and well-established discourse, but a special one too: “It really is a pure collaboration, not just through music, but in our minds and spirit as well.” The same goes for Tony Allen. He has already collaborated with quite a few electro artists during his long career but this is something else. “The difference is that Jeff can play with me, whereas the others cannot play with me. I can only play with them, but they cannot play with me…yunastan?”

        The pair first shared a stage in December 2016, at the New Morning in Paris. Their live shows have become a rhythm summit without equal, a chance to witness two of the world’s most innovative beat-makers, supplemented by the Moogs and synths of Jean-Philippe Dary, fusing past and future into an intense, seamless present where digital and analogue, jazz and electro, Africa and America, the source and the delta, become one.

        In some ways Allen and Mills have already fashioned their own sovereign self-designed state, one where improvisation, creativity and instinct reign. It’s rooted in Africa, yes, but like the music of Art Blakey, it goes beyond Africa, beyond America, beyond the force-fields of history and the structures of technology. That’s all the excitement - to get on board with two of the world greatest living masters of rhythm, set the controls for the heart of their spinning world, and boldly go into the unknown.

        Shop favourites (2016 end-of-year chart high-rollers) Gogo Penguin return for their latest outing on legendary jazz label, Blue Note. The thing about Gogo penguin is, they're a jazz band, but without all the things you'd associate with a jazz band. The beards are as few as their years, and the chin-stroking is not only minimal, but actively discouraged. Their last outing (the stunning 'Man Made Object') mixed the subtle downtempo percussion and slowly unfurling progressions of traditional jazz with tender, minimalistic electronics and ambient textures reminiscent of modern-classical contemporaries liberally littered around the Erased Tapes roster.

        Whilst their compositions are completely instrumental, there seems to be a wealth of outside influence making itself known through the phrasing and keys used. While 2015 / 2016 were in no way dream years for society in general, it was clear that there was a playfulness in their delivery of songs like 'Quiet Mind' (incidentally, this particular piece reminded me of the other 'Penguin' band, no bad thing).

        As soon as we finish the frenetic buzzing and claustrophobic atmospheres of 'Prayer', it becomes clear that the rather torrid world climate has indeed osmosed into their compositions, swapping out the languid bobbing atmospheres of yesteryear for a highly charged, powerfully visceral sound experience. While the melodic counterpoints are as ever, impeccably realised (and perfectly accentuated by Turner's mindblowing skin-smacking), the euphoric peak is often hidden behind a flurry of call-response dialogue, the peak only being reached through an intentionally laboured conversational swell.

        While throughout the album, the simmering malaise invariably breaks through into a grand and sweeping relief, it is in pieces like 'A Hundred Moons' that we get the full-force of their compositional genius, breaking through the residual gloom with airy, tropical percussion and a cleansing palate of major-key lifts and twinkling plucks. Without waxing lyrical about every song in turn, there really isn't much more that can be said, you'll just have to listen to it yourself. Truth of the matter is, Gogo Penguin are one of a kind, and continue to pioneer their own spellbinding brand of electronic jazz. 


        "The Source" is the Nigerian drummer's first album for Blue Note, one of the most prestigious names in jazz and a label that has opened its sphere of activity considerably wider since its renaissance in the eighties. Perhaps more than any other title in the catalogue, "The Source" represents the label's classic era at the same time as it symbolizes Blue Note's innovative present. The album achieves this by means of a sound-aesthetic that has total integrity, the result of a scrupulous transcribing of the music using a technology that is exclusively analogue, and doing so according to the precepts of the virtuous philosophy inherited from the label's founders, Alfred Lion and Marx Margulis. Piccadilly regulars should be well aware of the talents of Tony Allen by now. Pretty much the most prolific musician of the afro-beat scene still alive today! 77 years old and this guy keeps on ticking - or motoring rather, as his excessive, flamboyant, but totally in-the-pocket drumming demonstrates. Like all true jazz men, his personality comes through in his performance and through the course of "The Source" we find him backed up by a more than accomplished set of musicians - skirting around trad and spiritual jazz with inspired passages and lavish arrangement. Top, top stuff indeed.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        says: Afrobeat legend Tony Allen returns for his newest mindblowing outing, at the ripe old age of 77, and still pulling the hits out of the bag. This man is a true legend, and 'The Source' reminds us why.

        It’s been an astonishing couple of years for GoGo Penguin, the UK trio of drummer Rob Turner, double bassist Nick Blacka and pianist Chris Illingworth. Their trademark mash-up of minimalist piano themes, deeply propulsive bass lines and electronica-inspired drums has seen their 2014 album 'v2.0' shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. Drawing on a heady brew of influences from Brian Eno, John Cage, Massive Attack and Aphex Twin, GoGo Penguin has created a brave new sound that is wholly their own.

        Now signed to iconic jazz label Blue Note Records the trio release their new album. 'Man Made Object is the sound of a band confidently pursuing their own path. “The title is partly inspired by my fascination with ideas of robotics, transhumanism and human augmentation,” says pianist Illingworth, a statement that begs for elaboration. “We’re recreating electronic music on acoustic instruments. It’s like a man-made object that has become humanized and it seemed like a good album title, one that also means something different to each of us, and hopefully to each listener.”

        Indeed, although they're predominately an acoustic piano trio, GoGo Penguin’s music draws from many areas of contemporary electronic music, one where you can hear arcade game bleeps, glitchy breakbeats, hypnotic Aphex-style melodies, grinding bass lines and a rumbling low-end. It has been described as “acoustic electronica”, a term which perfectly sums up their modus operandi. “Many of the songs on this album started out as electronic compositions that I made on sequencing software like Logic or Ableton,” says drummer Turner. “I’ll then play it to the band and we’ll find ways of replicating it acoustically.”

        Albert Ammons

        Boogie Woogie Stomp

          THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2014 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

          2 track 12" on Blue Note

          Limited to 200 copies.

          John Coltrane

          Blue Train - Remastered Vinyl Edition

          "Blue Train" is John Coltrane's only collection of sides as a principal artist for Blue Note. The album is packed with sonic evidence of Coltrane's innate leadership abilities. He not only addresses the tunes at hand, but also simultaneously reinvents himself as a multifaceted interpreter of both hard bop as well as sensitive balladry - touching upon all forms in between. The personnel on "Blue Train" is arguably as impressive as what they're playing. Joining Coltrane (tenor sax) are Lee Morgan (trumpet), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Kenny Drew (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums). The triple horn arrangements incorporate an additional sonic density that remains a trademark unique to both this band and album. Of particular note is Fuller's even-toned trombone, which bops throughout the title track as well as the frenetic "Moments Notice". Other solos include Paul Chambers' subtly understated riffs on "Blue Train" as well as the high energy and impact from contributions by Lee Morgan and Kenny Drew during "Locomotion". The track likewise features some brief but vital contributions from Philly Joe Jones - whose efforts throughout the record stand among his personal best. Of the five pieces that comprise the original "Blue Train", the Jerome Kern / Johnny Mercer ballad "I'm Old Fashioned" is the only standard; in terms of unadulterated sentiment, this version is arguably untouchable. Fuller's rich tones and Drew's tastefully executed solos cleanly wrap around Jones' steadily languid rhythms. Without reservation, "Blue Train" can easily be considered in and among the most important and influential entries not only of John Coltrane's career, but of the entire genre of jazz music as well.

          Blue Note President Don Was says, “Two years ago, we began remastering the jewels of the Blue Note catalogue in hi-def resolutions of 96k and 192k. In order to develop a guiding artistic philosophy for this delicate endeavor, we donned our lab coats, ran dozens of sonic experiments and carefully referenced every generation of our reissues. Ultimately, we decided that our goal would be to protect the original intentions of the artists, producers and engineers who made these records and that, in the case of pre-digital-era albums, these intentions were best represented by the sound and feel of their first-edition vinyl releases. Working with a team of dedicated and groovy engineers, we found a sound that both captured the feel of the original records while maintaining the depth and transparency of the master tapes... the new remasters are really cool!

          While these new versions will become available in digital hi-def, CD and Mastered for iTunes formats, the allure of vinyl records is WAY too potent to ignore. This year, Blue Note - along with our friends at Universal Music Enterprises - is launching a major 75th Anniversary vinyl Initiative that is dedicated to the proposition that our catalogue should be readily available, featuring high quality pressings and authentic reproductions of Blue Note's iconic packaging. Although this program begins in celebration of Blue Note's 75th Anniversary, our catalog runs so deep that we will faithfully be reissuing five albums a month for many years to come!”

          This is the fifth part in the Blue Note's "Trip" series and the second that German jazz collective Jazzanova have compiled. As previously the selection features a great mix of classic tracks alongside current artist's songs, with everything from extended jazz instrumentals and soul-jazz gems to gentle bossa and cool 'pop' included. You'll all be familiar with classics like Bob Dorough's "Three Is A Magic Number", Marlena Shaw's "Save The Children", J Dilla's mix of Brother Jack McDuff's "Oblighetto" and Gary Bartz' "Carnaval De L'Espirit", but how about checking undiscovered cuts by The Waters, Djavan, Gene Dunlap and Janet Lawson.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          2xCD Info: Double mix CD contains all tracks from both "Scrambled" and "Mashed" LP compilations.

          Fantastic 1960 set from alto sax modernist with stonkin' line that included, Walter Bishop Jr (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Blue Mitchell (trumpet) and Art Taylor (drums).

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          LP Info: US import reissue with original sleeve artwork.

          Recorded slap-dab in the middle of the decade, "Places And Spaces" represents a high water mark level for 1970s jazz-funk, and is another Mizell Brothers-produced winner. Includes the Larry Mizell-penned anthems "Change (Makes You Want To Hustle)" and "Wind Parade" plus classics like "(Fallin' Like) Dominoes" and the title track itself. Essential!

          Various Artists

          Untinted - Sources For Madlib's Shades Of Blue

            Madlib had a very busy 2003, releasing records under various guises and having many fingers in different pies. The standout of that year though was his "Shades Of Blue" album, where he received unfettered access to the massive Blue Note archive to reinterpret and remix several label classics and obscure hits. "Untinted - Sources For Madlib's Shades Of Blue" is a bargain price collection that contains the original source material for Madlib's ambitious project, and is perfect for those not willing to dig through the crates to find all those old LPs. Includes original unmixed tracks by Gene Harris, Donald Byrd, Reuben Wilson, Ronnie Foster, Herbie Hancock, Bobbi Humphrey, Horace Silver etc.

            Something of a jazz 'supergroup' Scolohofo unites the talents of John Scofield on guitar, Dave Holland on bass, Al Foster on drums and Joe Lovano on tenor and soprano sax. This new Blue Note recording is a rarity for these sort of 'all-star' collaborations - rarely do musicians of this calibre organically form a group that operates as a collective as they do here, each member contributes equally to the proceedings as both a composer and co-arranger and you can really hear the difference with a genuine 'group' sound.

            Following her Blue Note debut, "Blacks And Blues" came the even more successful 1974 LP "Satin Doll", dedicated to the birth of her child Ricci Lynn and the death of Duke Ellington who she'd played with before getting a record contract. Again this a fantastic jazz-funk LP, with Larry Mizell arranging and co-producing and Humphrey letting fly with the flute.

            Vibesman Bobby Hutcherson takes centre stage here for the first album to be recorded with him as leader, taking the likes of Joe Chambers and Freddie Hubbard along. Although part of the jazz mainstream today, in 1965 when this LP was recorded he was on the cutting edge of experimentation, as can be witnessed in tracks like "Les Noirs Marchent" and "Dialogue".

            Various Artists

            Blue Funk

              Includes ace funky jazz tracks from Grant Green, Jack McDuff, Big John Patton, Lou Donaldson etc.


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