Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Tom 1960

Late 60's Early 70's Blue Note Lesser Known Gems

43 posts in this topic

Having come into this period of the music far after the fact, it's interesting to me that despite the obvious issues with this part of the discography--slipshod curation, a lack of visual/design uniformity, overtures to commercialism that often lack in subtlety, etc.--there are a ton of titles therein that might be considered certifiable classics. I wonder how much of that has to do with this received, reissue/post-reissue era understanding of the label as this monolithic marker of quality vs. the realities of the music as it was coming out.

I mean, I feel like there's a 5-10 year stretch over the course of the label's lifetime in which almost everything has the patina of daring and innovation, whether we're talking about Out to Lunch or Moanin' or Night Dreamer or whatever, but by the late 60's peak free jazz had sort of dissipated and I have this strong (hindsight-informed) sense that whatever powers had energized the Blue Note of old had transferred to other locations and conceptions. Come '69 or something I might not recommend a Blue Note album over early AACM, the wilier exploits of early fusion, or even something as relatively "prosaic" (but culturally resonant, to some culture) as Swiss Movement.

Again, having come into this music so far after it was issued--and with generations of thinkers and creators in-between--there are real historical arguments to be made on behalf of-

New York is Now and Love Call, as Jim mentions. I think it's important to note that the subsequent popularization of some of this repertoire vis-a-vis Pat Metheny and others has given these records a place in Ornette's pantheon that is (maybe) outsize the mere novelty of Ornette vs. the Coltrane rhythm team. I definitely think that some of these melodies and sax solos (Ornette on "Airborne", Dewey's gargantuan coming out moment on "The Garden of Souls") rank among the most memorable in the stretch between the Atlantics and Prime Time.

Later Wayne Shorter is now invaluable as a kind of bridge between the more structured post-bop of the classic era and Weather Report. I think in light of Wayne's "last" quartet a lot of the later Blue Notes, especially Supernova and Odyssey of Iska, require a reevaluation in the way of forward-thinking performance practice. Similar arguments can be made for the later Andrew Hills and Bobby Hutchersons. 

I have a personal/early career history with Eddie Gale's records that means that I can't be impartial about them, but I think that Ghetto Music has its own kind of underground/indie cache that is undeniable. That is an overture to avant-garde/soul jazz stylings that paid real artistic dividends, though I think that ultimately Black Rhythm Happening is the stronger of the two, performance-wise.  

I was at dinner with friends last night and they put on Mr. Jones. That shit is shredding, y'all. Re: the central thesis of this post I think that Live at the Lighthouse in particular and that entire crew of post-Coltrane saxophonists that Elvin employed were making some music that, for better or worse, helped to define the arc of post-bop for the ensuing decade (at least), and this makes that music as relevant, in a way, as the Lion-era stuff.

Compounding this reevaluation of the late Blue Notes is the mind-boggling volume of electric/funk/soul jazz of really varying quality that the label seemed to dump in and around this time period. I adore a ton of this music and freely admit that a lot of it is disposable. That being said, I think that the biggest favor the resurgent label could have done for this period in its history was the Rare Groove Series, which properly contextualized a great deal of this music within the realm of the sampling/beat culture to which it was ultimately the most historically relevant.

I can't imagine listening to Jack McDuff's Moon Rappin', which I love, so many years after the fact were it not sampled by A Tribe Called Quest for "Scenario"--that's an instance in which mildly experimental, but more or less zeitgeist-y, steak and eggs soul jazz transcends both its epoch and its creative inputs to become something closer to immortal. I can say the same thing for almost everything that got sampled/reworked on Madlib's Shades of Blue--a lot of shit that sounds way hipper when you hear what the music could do when interfacing with post-modern culture some 30-40 years down the line.

And then there are records like Grant Green's Alive, which is not only a beat culture staple (again, re: A Tribe Called Quest), but also one of Grant's best late period records. It might have been lost to time because it's not, well, Idle Moments, but the playing there is so committed and the energy so very live (much like Root Down, to choose an appropriate comparison), I'm glad that the label history was there to ensure the album's survival for posterity. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, ep1str0phy said:

I have this strong (hindsight-informed) sense that whatever powers had energized the Blue Note of old had transferred to other locations and conceptions.

 

That would be Alfred Lion's sale of the label to Liberty in 1967.  They continued to put out a lot of great music, but also a much higher percentage of disposable music.  Then, when Liberty sold out to UA, the new music continued to weaken (though again, with some notable exceptions, such as the late McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones tites, and some of the Bobby Hutcherson titles).  Though UA did unearth a lot of incredible unreleased or long out of print material in three glorious campaigns through about maybe 1980.   We won't talk about the mid-80's relaunch to the present, which to me is a whole different label, for which I don't have great regard.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't so much talking about the Liberty sale and Lion's departure as a literal "transference of power" as I was saying that the specialness that's so deeply detectable in the late 50's/early 60's Blue Notes sides had gone somewhere else by the late 60's.

Discussing canon vis-a-vis a continuum of "must hear albums" is messy and, in the era of streaming, unnecessarily reductionist, but if I knew of someone who was really invested in classic Blue Note and wanted to know where to go next, I'd probably point them in the direction of late-60's Columbia, Impulse!, and Atlantic, Milestone, ECM, the Delmark AACM material, the BYG label, Nessa, etc. on into whatever Michael Cuscana or Joel Dorn were producing in the early-mid 70's, and so on. That's not to say that the post-sale Blue Note output is valueless music or, really, not worthy of discussion (even historical discussion), only that the canon, such as it is, seems to shift elsewhere in that time period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a good time, call BST- 84343.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I spin very often all those funktastic Libertys of Green, Byrd, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, ep1str0phy said:

I was at dinner with friends last night and they put on Mr. Jones. That shit is shredding, y'all. Re: the central thesis of this post I think that Live at the Lighthouse in particular and that entire crew of post-Coltrane saxophonists that Elvin employed were making some music that, for better or worse, helped to define the arc of post-bop for the ensuing decade (at least), and this makes that music as relevant, in a way, as the Lion-era stuff.

Yes. I can vouch that Liebman/Grossman (or Grossman/Liebman if you prefer) were HUGE influences on and in certain circles of young tenorists all the way through the 1970s (and beyond, really). And don't forget Merry Go Round!

Not a style of tenor playing that ever grabbed me by the Ricos, but the influence is undeniably significant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, porcy62 said:

Personally I spin very often all those funktastic Libertys of Green, Byrd, etc.

I love all the Byrds up to and including Ethiopian Knights (rec 1971) -- and I'm especially fond of Fancy Free, Electric Byrd, and Kofi (rec 1969-71), but I'm afraid I've never been that much for the Larry Mizell produced stuff.

But I'm good with all the later-era Grant Green on BN, but I'm missing 4 of his 8 later Blue Note releases (1969-72), just because I haven't ever found cheap enough copies to grab (priorities).

Generally (and mostly all on CD), I have about 85% of everything Blue Note recorded from between 1960 thru 1971 or '72.  But after that, it's pretty hit 'n' miss, I've barely got 20% of BN's output from between 1972-78.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rooster, I agree, Idris is fine but I really do not dig the Mizell bros.  Two things that only came out years later but which BN at least thought about putting out at the time that I ttotally, unreservedly do dig:

 

Grant Green Quintet

Houston Person, tenor sax; Clarence Thomas, tenor, soprano sax; Ronnie Foster, organ; Grant Green, guitar; Idris Muhammad, drums.

"Club Mozambique", Detroit, MI, 1st set, January 6, 1971
  Patches Blue Note rejected
  More Today Than Yesterday -
  One Less Bell To Answer -
  Bottom Of The Barrel -
  Jan Jan -
  Make It Easy On Yourself -
  Farid Blue Note unissued
  One More Chance Blue Note rejected

Grant Green Quintet

same personnel.

"Club Mozambique", Detroit, MI, 2nd set, January 6, 1971
  Patches Blue Note rejected
  One Less Bell To Answer -
  Bottom Of The Barrel Blue Note unissued
  I Am Somebody -
  Glenda Blue Note rejected
  One More Chance -
  Walk On By Blue Note unissued

Grant Green Quintet

same personnel.

"Club Mozambique", Detroit, MI, 3rd set, January 6, 1971
  Jan Jan Blue Note rejected
  More Today Than Yesterday -
  One More Chance Blue Note unissued

Grant Green Quintet

same personnel.

"Club Mozambique", Detroit, MI, 1st set, January 7, 1971
  One More Chance Blue Note rejected
  Jan Jan -
  More Today Than Yesterday Blue Note unissued
  Farid Blue Note rejected

Grant Green Quintet

same personnel.

"Club Mozambique", Detroit, MI, 2nd set, January 7, 1971
  I Am Somebody Blue Note rejected
  Patches -
  Bottom Of The Barrel -
  Walk On By -
  Glenda Blue Note unissued
  Make It Easy On Yourself -

Grant Green Quintet

same personnel.

"Club Mozambique", Detroit, MI, 3rd set, January 7, 1971
  Jan Jan Blue Note unissued
  Patches -
  I Am Somebody Blue Note rejected
  Walk On By -

 

A full CD's worth (dbl LP) came out in the Rare Groove series but no One Less Bell or Make It Easy

 

Lonnie Smith Septet

Dave Hubbard, tenor sax; Ronnie Cuber, baritone sax; Lonnie Smith, organ, vocals; George Benson, guitar; Joe Dukes, drums; Gary Jones, congas; Clifford Mack, tambourine.
"Club Mozambique", Detroit, MI, May 21, 1970
tk.1 Love Bowl Blue Note B1-31880
tk.2 Piece Of Mind -
tk.3 Play It Back rejected
tk.4 I Can't Stand It Blue Note B1-31880
tk.5 Move Your Hand rejected
tk.6 I Want To Thank You For Loving Me -
tk.7 Scream Blue Note B1-31880
tk.8 Expressions -
tk.9 Play It Back

 

     
     
     
     
     
     

 

   

 

Sorry 'bout the weird formatting!

Edited by danasgoodstuff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the above mentioned 2 Ornette Coleman LPs . 

"Garden of Soul" is one of the most beautiful compositions I heard. The way how it "flows"...…….it really moves me every time I enjoy listening to it. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

booker-ervin-the-in-between-1600-cover-l

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, JSngry said:

booker-ervin-the-in-between-1600-cover-l

Absolutely yes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd also like to give a shout out to all the fine music Elvin, McCoy, and especially Bobby Hutcherson produced during these years. I was just listening to Time For Tyner from '68 which features Hutch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would second all of these suggestions! Some I haven't seen mentioned are Rueben Wilson's On Broadway, the two Jack Wilson records, Horace Silver's The Jody Grind, and especially some of the later Lee Morgan dates; I find Lee's immediate post-Sidewinder work is very uneven, but he came back very strong near the end of his run. Caramba, Sonic Boom, and The Rajah are all excellent.

Also the Bobby Hutcherson records collected on the Mosaic Select are uniformally great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, colinmce said:

Also the Bobby Hutcherson records collected on the Mosaic Select are uniformally great.

Agree - and add ‘Knucklebean’.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/15/2019 at 11:35 AM, Tom 1960 said:

Well, a great McCoy Tyner release in my mind circa 1970 on Blue Note would be the release Extensions.

IMHO this is a phenomenal album and arguably would have qualified as a classic in any BN era

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/30/2019 at 3:42 PM, Guy Berger said:

IMHO this is a phenomenal album and arguably would have qualified as a classic in any BN era

Totally agree.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 30.11.2019 at 9:42 PM, Guy Berger said:

IMHO this is a phenomenal album and arguably would have qualified as a classic in any BN era

Sure ! And tell me if I´m wrong, but I always think that "Time for Tyner" is quite underrated. 

Sorry I can´t post the album cover now, but I just want to say about "Time for Tyner" that it´s fantastic with Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Lewis and I think Freddie Waits on drums ? 

I have one of those Tiny cardboard CDs of it, hard to read the liner notes, but the music is just great. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.