Category Archives: Hard Bop

CULT CLASSIC: GRANT GREEN-NIGERIA.

Cult Classic: Grant Green-Nigeria. On January the ’13th’ 1962 Grant Green journeyed to New Jersey, and what were by now the familiar environs of the Van Gelder Studio. He was twenty-five and had already recorded eight albums for Blue Note Records since he signed for the label in 1960. Grant Green had his friend Lou …

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ART BLAKEY AND THE JAZZ MESSENGERS-THE WITCH DOCTOR.

Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers-The Witch Doctor. Label: Blue Note Records. Format: LP. When The Jazz Messengers were formed in 1954, the collective was led by Horace Silver and Art Blakey when they played live. However, it wasn’t until November the ‘23rd’ 1955 when they recorded At the Cafe Bohemia, Volumes 1 and 2. …

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IMPULSE RECORDS: MUSIC, MESSAGE AND THE MOMENT.

Impulse Records: Music, Message and The Moment. Label: Impulse. Format: 2CD Set. The roots of Impulse! can be traced to 1955 when the American Broadcasting Company decided the time was right to diversify into the record business. History was made on June ‘14th’ 1955 when  Am-Par Record Corporation was incorporated and Samuel H. Clark became …

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CULT CLASSIC: DONALD BYRD-BYRD IN FLIGHT.

Cult Classic: Donald Byrd-Byrd In Flight. When Donald Byrd signed to Blue Note Records in 1958, he was twenty-five and had already recorded five solo albums and had collaborated on albums with Art Farmer, Phil Woods and Gigi Gryce.  The Detroit-born trumpeter was also in demand as a sideman and had already worked with some …

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CULT CLASSIC: SHINTARO QUINTET-EVOLUTION.

Cult Classic: Shintaro Quintet-Evolution. Ever since  the mid-fifties, many American jazz musicians journeyed to Japan where they toured and recorded albums. They were respected and treated as series  musicians, and when they recorded an album the budget was much more generous and the working conditions far better than they were used to.  It was no …

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JAZZ CLASSIC: LEE MORGAN-THE SIDEWINDER.

Jazz Classic: Lee Morgan-The Sidewinder. 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 in the Spring of 1957 had released his debut …

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CHESTER THOMPSON-POWERHOUSE.

Chester Thompson-Powerhouse. Label: Real Gone Music. Format: CD. During the late-sixties and early seventies, many small independent jazz labels were founded in towns and cities across America. Sadly,  many were short-lived affairs with some releasing just one album and others closing their doors having released just a couple of albums. However, Black Jazz Records released …

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CULT CLASSIC: ART BLAKEY AND THE JAZZ MESSENGERS-ROOTS AND HERBS.

Cult Classic: Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers-Roots and Herbs. 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 of drummer Art Blakey, bassist Doug Watkins, …

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CULT CLASSIC: DUKE PEARSON FEATURING BOBBY HUTCHERSON-THE PHANTOM.

Cult Classic: Duke Pearson Featuring Bobby Hutcherson-The Phantom. 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 for the label in 1959, and later …

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CULT CLASSIC: WALTER BISHOP JR-CORAL KEYS.

Cult Classic: Walter Bishop Jr-Coral Keys. 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. Later in 1971, Black …

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HANK MOBLEY-SOUL STATION

Hank Mobley-Soul Station. Label: Blue Note Records. Format: LP. It was Leonard Feather, the British-born jazz pianist, composer, producer and music writer who described Hank Mobley as the: “middleweight champion of the tenor saxophone.” This metaphor made sense to critics and connoisseurs of jazz.  His tone was neither as aggressive as John Coltrane nor as …

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CULT CLASSIC: BOBBY HUTCHERSON-OBLIQUE.

Cult Classic: Bobby Hutcherson-Oblique. 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, an album of modal hard bop …

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CULT CLASSIC: JIMMY SMITH WITH STANLEY TURRENTINE-PRAYER MEETIN’.

Cult Classic: Jimmy Smith With Stanley Turrentine-Prayer Meetin’. 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 Verve. The album he was about …

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ART BLAKEY AND THE JAZZ MESSENGERS-MOANIN’.

Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers-Moanin’. 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. They …

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CULT CLASSIC: HORACE SILVER QUINTET-FURTHER EXPLORATIONS BY THE HORACE SILVER QUINTET.

Cult Classic: Horace Silver Quintet-Further Explorations By The Horace Silver Quintet. 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 as one of the up-and-coming jazz …

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CULT CLASSIC: JACKIE MCLEAN-IT’S TIME!

Cult Classic: Jackie McLean-It’s Time! 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 featured a new band and saw him revisit his old …

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CULT CLASSIC: DAWAN MUHAMMAD-DEEP STREAM.

Cult Classic: Dawan Muhammad-Deep Stream. 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 record companies that …

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SHINTARO QUINTET-EVOLUTION.

Shintaro Quintet-Evolution. Label: BBE Music. Format: CD. Ever since  the mid-fifties, many American jazz musicians journeyed to Japan where they toured and recorded albums. They were respected and treated as series  musicians, and when they recorded an album the budget was much more generous and the working conditions far better than they were used to.  …

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DONALD BYRD-BYRD IN FLIGHT.

Donald Byrd-Byrd In Flight. Label: Blue Note Records. Format: LP. When Donald Byrd signed to Blue Note Records in 1958, he was twenty-five and had already recorded five solo albums and had collaborated on albums with Art Farmer, Phil Woods and Gigi Gryce.  The Detroit-born trumpeter was also in demand as a sideman and had …

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LEE MORGAN-THE RAJAH.

Lee Morgan-The Rajah. Label: Blue Note Records. Format LP. In 1964, twenty-six year old hard bop trumpeter Lee Morgan’s career was transformed when he enjoyed a crossover hit with The Sidewinder. Instantly recognisable and incredibly catchy, it became a jazz standard and nowadays, is regarded as Lee Morgan’s best known composition. Buoyed by the success …

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