Category Archives: Hard Bop

CULT CLASSIC: ART BLAKEY AND THE JAZZ MESSENGERS-BUHAINA’S DELIGHT. 

Cult Classic: Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers-Buhaina’s Delight. By the time Art Blakey arrived at Van Gelder Studio, in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on the ‘28th’ of November 1961, he had just turned forty-two a month earlier, and had already established a reputation as one of the greatest jazz drummers of his generation. He …

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CULT CLASSIC: HERBIE HANCOCK-THE PRISONER.

Cult Classic: Herbie Hancock-The Prisoner. In the summer of 1968 Herbie Hancock left Miles Davis Quintet to form his own group. This was a risky move, but one he felt he had to make to develop as a composer, bandleader and pianist. During the summer of 1968 Herbie Hancock also released his sixth album for Blue Note …

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CULT CLASSIC: DEXTER GORDON-A SWINGIN’ AFFAIR.

Cult Classic: Dexter Gordon-A Swingin’ Affair. Tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon was only seventeen  when he joined  Lionel Hampton’s band in 1940, and for the next three years, played alongside Illinois Jacquet and Marshal Royal. However, by 1944 he was a member of the Fletcher Henderson band before featuring in Louis Armstrong and Billy Eckstine’s bands. …

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CULT CLASSIC: HIDETO SASAKI, TOSHIYUKI SEKINE QUARTET +1-STOP OVER.

Cult Classic: Hideto Sasaki, Toshiyuki Sekine Quartet + 1–Stop Over. Ever since the sixties, rather than sign to a label, many artists and bands have released their albums as private pressings. However, the majority of the labels releasing private pressings during this didn’t have the same resources as the major labels or even an indie …

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CULT CLASSIC: STANLEY TURRENTINE-COMIN’ YOUR WAY.

Cult Classic: Stanley Turrentine-Comin’ Your Way. When bandleader and saxophonist Stanley Turrentine entered Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, in New Jersey on January the ’20th’ 1961, he was twenty-six and about to record what would eventually become Comin’ Your Way.  It was the third time he had made this journey since he had signed to Blue …

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CULT CLASSIC: RALPH THOMAS-EASTERN STANDARD TIME.

Cult Classic: Ralph Thomas-Eastern Standard Time. Back in 1980, saxophonist and flautist Ralph Thomas released his debut album Eastern Standard Time  on the obscure Zebra Jazz imprint. Sadly, when this future spiritual jazz cult classic failed to find  the audience it deserved until much later.  By then, copies of Eastern Standard Time  were almost impossible to find, and …

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ART BLAKEY AND THE JAZZ MESSENGERS-ROOTS AND HERBS.

Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers-Roots and Herbs. Label: Blue Note Records (Tone Poet Series). Format: LP. Nowadays, many music historians believe that The Jazz Messengers made their live debut in 1954 and a year later recorded At the Cafe Bohemia, Volumes 1 and 2 on November the ‘23rd’ 1955. It featured the original lineup …

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LEE MORGAN-THE SIDEWINDER.

Lee Morgan-The Sidewinder. Label: Blue Note Records. Format: LP. Release Date: ‘4th’ December 2020. On the 21st’ December 1963, Lee Morgan and his quintet travelled to the Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, to record what was the fourteenth album of his career. He had signed to Blue Note Records in 1956 and …

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WALTER BISHOP JR-CORAL KEYS.

Walter Bishop Jr-Coral Keys. Label: Real Gone Music. Format: CD. In 1971, Gene Russell and Dick Schory founded Black Jazz Records and later that year, the nascent label released their first release. This was Doug Carn’s debut album Infant Eyes. It was the first of twenty albums that the label released between 1971 and 1975. …

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BOBBY HUTCHERSON-OBLIQUE.

Bobby Hutcherson-Oblique. Label: Blue Note Records-Tone Poet Series. Format: LP. On July the ‘21st’ 1967, Bobby Hutcherson journeyed to Van Gelder Studio, in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, to record Oblique which was his sixth solo album for Blue Note Records. It was just the second album he had recorded with a quartet.  The first was Happenings, …

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DUKE PEARSON FEATURING BOBBY HUTCHERSON-THE PHANTOM.

Duke Pearson Featuring Bobby Hutcherson-The Phantom. Label: Blue Note Records Tone Poet Series. Format: LP. By June 1968, Atlanta-born pianist Duke Pearson was thirty-five, and was about to begin record the twelfth album of his career, The Phantom. It would be the seventh album he had recorded for Blue Note Records since he first signed …

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JACKIE MCLEAN-IT’S TIME!

Jackie McLean-It’s Time! Label: Blue Note Records-Tone Poet Series. Format: LP. When Jackie McLean and his band journeyed to Van Gelder Studio, in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, on August the ‘5th’ 1964, it was his fourteenth solo session for Blue Note Records and resulted in the album It’s Time! It which was recently reissued by …

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HORACE SILVER QUINTET-FURTHER EXPLORATIONS BY THE HORACE SILVER QUINTET.

Horace Silver Quintet-Further Explorations By The Horace Silver Quintet. Label: Blue Note Records-Tone Poet Series. Format: LP. By 1950, composer and pianist Horace Silver was twenty-two and living in Hartford, Connecticut, where he had formed his own trio. They were already a familiar sight in the local clubs and are were quickly establishing a reputation …

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BOBBY HUTCHERSON-THE KICKER.

Bobby Hutcherson-The Kicker. Label: Blue Note Records-Tone Poet Series. Format: LP. Less than three years after Bobby Hutcherson made his recording debut, the twenty-three year old vibraphonist recorded his debut album The Kicker for Blue Note Records in 1963. This was the start of the most prolific period of his long and illustrious career.  Over …

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JIMMY SMITH WITH STANLEY TURRENTINE-PRAYER MEETIN’.

Jimmy Smith With Stanley Turrentine-Prayer Meetin’. Label: Blue Note Records-Tone Poet Series. Format: LP. When Jimmy Smith entered Van Gelder Studio on February the ‘8th’ 1963, he was about to record his fourth album in a week. This meant that he had fulfilled the terms of his contract with Blue Note and could sign with …

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DAWAN MUHAMMAD-DEEP STREAM.

Dawan Muhammad-Deep Stream. Label: High Jazz. Format: LP. By 1979, jazz wasn’t as popular as it was during the fifties and early sixties. That was the golden age for jazz, and saw countless classic albums released on labels like Blue Note, Verve and Impulse! These albums sold in large quantities and were profitable for the …

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ART BLAKEY AND THE JAZZ MESSENGERS-JUST COOLIN’.

Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers-Just Coolin’. Label: Blue Note Records. Format: LP. Although Philly-born tenor saxophonist Benny Golson’s tenure with The Jazz Messengers was short-lived, he still played an important part in the development and history of the group. He joined in 1958, and during the summer, helped Art Blakey recruit three new Messengers. …

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KENNY DORHAM-TROMPETA TOCCATO.

Kenny Dorham-Trompeta Toccato. Label: Blue Note Records. Format: Vinyl. On December the ‘15th’ 1953, twenty-nine year old Texan trumpeter Kenny Dorham had already been a member of Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Eckstine and Lionel Hampton big bands and had joined Charlie Parker’s Quintet in December 1948. Less than five years later, and the sideman embarked upon …

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ANDREW HILL-SMOKE STACK.

Andrew Hill-Smoke Stack. Label: Blue Note Records. Format: Vinyl. By the time Chicago-born pianist Andrew Hill released his sophomore album Black Fire on Blue Note Records in 1964, he was already thirty-two, and was making up for lost time. He had only started to play the piano when he was thirteen but made rapid progress. …

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HANK MOBLEY-POPPIN’.

Hank Mobley-Poppin’. Label: Blue Note Records. Musically, Hank Mobley was a late starter, and first  picked up a saxophone was when he was sixteen, and suffering from an illness that meant he had to stay at home for several months. By then, he was living in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was finding that the days …

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