Four mouth-watering themed jazz compilations from Blue Note Records are about to the hit the shops. Each 2-CD set in the ‘BLUE NOTE EXPLOSION’ series was compiled by renowned DJ and groove spotter, Dean Rudland, who digs deep into the vaults of the Big Apple-based label that German-Jewish émigrés Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff established in 1939.
The first set in the series, ‘AFRICAN RHYTHMS,’ explores Blue Note jazz influenced by the ‘motherland’ – featured artists include the redoubtable Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, McCoy Tyner, Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter and Jackie McLean. By contrast, ‘NEW YORK IS OUR HOME’ focuses on the practitioners of ’50s and ’60s Big Apple hard bop while ‘THE FUNK JAZZ BROTHERS’ is devoted to funkafied soul-jazz grooves from the likes of Jack McDuff, Ronnie Foster, Grant Green and Lou Donaldson. The final set in this commendable series is ‘ON THE CORNER,’ a 2-CD snapshot of Blue Note’s fusion exponents with tracks from Bobby Hutcherson (his jazz take on The Stylistics’ ‘People Make The World Go Round’), Alphonse Mouzon, Donald Byrd, Bobby Humphrey and Eddie Henderson. Whatever your favourite tipple is jazz-wise, one of these collections is bound to satisfy your needs. Release date is June 2nd.
That’s not all from Blue Note. Preceding the above compilations is a set of five limited edition titles in the label’s ongoing Connoisseur series, released on May 26th. Perhaps the rarest and most coveted is a CD containing two obscure big band albums by trumpeter ART FARMER, entitled ‘Brass Shout’ and ‘Aztec Suite,’ which were originally released on United Artists in 1959. Also available is ‘Return Of The Prodigal Son’ by tenor titan, STANLEY TURRENTINE; ‘Head On,’ an abstract, exploratory 1971 session by vibraphonist, BOBBY HUTCHERSON; ‘Smithville,’ a sterling hard bop session from horn man, LOUIS SMITH; and a self-titled set from GIL GULLER and the MONTEREY FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA featuring DIZZY GILLESPIE & JAMES MOODY.
Looking to the future, another raft of RVG reissues is expected in September from Blue Note, among them two sought-after HANK MOBLEY titles.