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tonym

Recent Blue Note...

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I am aware of the feelings of many members here toward Blue Note of new. I am also aware that some of the same members may love the Blue Note of old. Their reissue programme notwithstanding, when do you feel the last time the label really took a chance and put out some probing music from an artist (well known or not).

I don't like to generally limit discussions to one particular label and I may be retreading old ground here anyway. However, given that some have suggested that even the 'big' names output lately has been rather tame (ie. Joe Lovano) are we talking Don Byron's last release or Greg Osby on some of his excursions; or are we looking further back to Brian Blade Fellowship or Mark Shim?

Do you think that is it for the label now? Or are you of the opinion that they are just moving with the times?

Let us know. Cheers.

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I think its obvious that the biggest chance they recently took was signing Norah.

It might not be the artistic risk you are looking for, but it was risky in its own way.

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I think I'd have to agree with Dan. Artists like Cassandra Wilson and Norah Jones do represent a risk as they involve a certain reposition of the company in the consumer's consciousness.

But I suppose with the reissue program having a separate identitiy and integrity in the minds of the jazz die-hards, and the contemporary artists in the "serious" jazz realm selling rather poorly, they felt secure in moving in this direction.

BUT, I would say that the Blue Note tradition is mostly in music that is decidedly UNprobing. The records that made the label's reputation (the reputation they are now in the process of altering) were mostly pretty straightforward.

There were some progressive records, of course, but I think "Lee Morgan" or "Hank Mobley" when I hear "Blue Note," not "Andrew Hill," and I think that's pretty much the case with most people who think anything at all when they hear "Blue Note."

And I think Blue Note's stable is pretty risky. Osby, Moran, Lovano--I doubt any of these guys are ever going to make them EMI's idea of ROI.

--eric

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As far as i'm concerned, any label that releases something by Bob Dorough is taking a risk...

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As far as i'm concerned, any label that releases something by Bob Dorough is taking a risk...

I don't know how you meant that, but I thought Blue Note really lost out on an opportunity with its last Dorough release--my sense is that this is a guy who can sell records with the right promo.

I thought they should have made him into a project.

--eric

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I thought they should have made him into a project.

A project and a study!

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And I think Blue Note's stable is pretty risky. Osby, Moran, Lovano--I doubt any of these guys are ever going to make them EMI's idea of ROI.

And Don Byron, Brian Blade, Mark Shim...

The thing is, while Blue Note has these artists on their "roster" (i.e., back catalog) I'm afraid VERY LITTLE CAPITAL has been allocated to their projects... despite the Norah-generated cash infusion.

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And I think Blue Note's stable is pretty risky. Osby, Moran, Lovano--I doubt any of these guys are ever going to make them EMI's idea of ROI.

And Don Byron, Brian Blade, Mark Shim...

The thing is, while Blue Note has these artists on their "roster" (i.e., back catalog) I'm afraid VERY LITTLE CAPITAL has been allocated to their projects... despite the Norah-generated cash infusion.

Yeah, I wonder what the circumstances of a typical recording project are like now caompared to, say, 1960?

How much time is there? How much expertise on hand? What choice of sidemen? How long does it take? How much time to write or select or rehearse material?

I also wonder how much of the differences come down to up-front money and how much come down to broader changes in the business.

--eric

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What is it when you are talking about risk? Taking a chance on an unknown artist (like Norah Jones, or this debut cd by Takashi), or willing to support projects that aren't as commercially successful (Osby string quartet projects, Mark Shim, or heck, Joe Chambers or Pete La Roca cds that came out several years ago -- remember?), or hey, even taking artists from other labels into the fold (Wynton Marsalis, Al Green, Van Morrison?). Or is it wanting to take those risks similar to what happened in the 60's, like Bobby Hutcherson with Joe Chambers, or Jackie McLean and Grachan Moncur, Larry Young's explorations, etc. Blue Note ain't the small boutique label it once was, but as far as major labels go, I think they are constantly taking risks. Maybe not the kind of risks we would like (reissue Tyrone Washington!), but risks nevertheless.

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Recent Blue Note..., when did they last take a chance?

December 9, 1991

Gil Melle's Mindscapes

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That Joe Chambers record is beautiful, by the way, and if ya'll don't have a copy you're chumps.

Personally, I think they took the biggest risk when they let go of Charlie Hunter. What the hell were they thinking!??!

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That Joe Chambers record is beautiful, by the way, and if ya'll don't have a copy you're chumps.

Personally, I think they took the biggest risk when they let go of Charlie Hunter. What the hell were they thinking!??!

That was a money issue, I'm pretty sure.

He asked for X. They thought he wasn't worth it.

I think they were wrong.

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Allowing Kurt Lundvall to record live cd's at the Village Vanguard! :huh:

No seriously...I think Blue Note takes a risk with every album it releases. There are enough people out there, let alone us who posts here and on the Blue Note message board who scrutinise its every move. Sure we are going to be hard on some of its choices, but I would say more often than not, BN does a pretty good job trying to satiate everyones interests, as well as competing with the rest of the marketplace.

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For me, the most interesting and adventurous recent jazz vocal releases are 'Modern Cool' and 'Verse' by Patricia Barber. I appreciate Blue Note for signing her.

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This sad song has been sung many times. Any label that really believes they will make some money with a jazz record is naive. You can break even and make a small profit just sufficient for the next issue. Jazz sales aren't up to 2% of a CD sales, Norah Jones or not.

Blue Note was a small indie on the verge of existence when it released all these records we now consider classics. Now it is a sublabel of a global company, which is a largely different thing. They will take a risk if they have money to spare, but they don't have right now. The big companies have cut down their jazz artist roster continuously over the last few years, in fact I am astounded they still have Osby or Moran. Blade and Shim, are they still signed?

We'd rather look for the indie company and support them. Same with Verve, Columbia, Warner/Atlantic ... you can count the jazz artists they have under contract in less than a minute.

Singer Carla White told me she had to work five years to get her excellent album, "The Sweetest Sounds", out, and then only on a Japanese label (DIW). She now sits on the tapes of her last self-produced album, and has the same hassle for two years. It's a shame.

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That Joe Chambers record is beautiful, by the way, and if ya'll don't have a copy you're chumps.

Personally, I think they took the biggest risk when they let go of Charlie Hunter. What the hell were they thinking!??!

what Joe Chambers is that? the new one isn't so great.

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I assume this refers to 'Mirrors'. A good session - and a great shame that BN didn't follow up with another release from Joe. Wonder why that was?

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AP reports that Anita Baker has signed a two record deal with Blue Note.One cd will be R&B the other will be jazz.

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Just got the new Takashi Matsunaga disc, and the kid is a really fine pianist.

He cites Tatum and Red Garland as influences,a nd you can hear some of the Latin American monsters (Valdes, Camilo) in him. But the CD isn't about technical virtuosity: it's all pretty digestable & a lot of it kinda catchy. Lots of sudden shifts, but all pretty well integrated, and dynamically perhaps a little bit under wraps (but that perhaps all to the good).

Definitely worth hearing,

--eric

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I assume this refers to 'Mirrors'. A good session - and a great shame that BN didn't follow up with another release from Joe. Wonder why that was?

Wonder why?

Well, my guess is that the reason had to do with money - that's essentially the reason why anything gets released or not released on any label. Either the album cost too much to produce, Chambers' wanted too much, or "Mirrors" didn't sell enough to make back what it cost. I'm sure if it was a "hit," we'd have seen another one from Joe on Blue Note.

Yes, it's a shame, but music is a business as well as an art form.

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As far as i'm concerned, any label that releases something by Bob Dorough is taking a risk...

Thanks for the reminder! I just saw Dorough in NYC last weekend. What a damn cool cat - and a pretty nice guy to boot. I'd forgotten about this BN release - yet another disc to pick up. "Conjunction Junction," indeed!

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