Blue Soul [Bonus Tracks]

Blue Soul [Bonus Tracks]

by Blue Mitchell SextetBlue Mitchell Sextet


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Trumpeter Blue Mitchell left his home in Miami for a short stint in New York City, headed back to Florida, and then to Los Angeles before his brief but vital career as a jazz trumpeter ended. This sojourn identified his sound, initially branded by the warmth of the Southeast, burnished by the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, and polished by the West Coast cool school demeanor. In 1959, as Mitchell returned to Miami, he connected with Detroit trombonist Curtis Fuller and Philadelphia tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath to form one of the most potent three-horn front lines in jazz history. Few knew how good they were until after the fact, but this recording, the third album for Mitchell as a leader, has him and his mates in full flight. Drummer Philly Joe Jones has a lot to do with the solid booster rocket-like propulsion on this primarily hard bop date -- check out his calypso variations on the second chorus of the otherwise easy blues swing and ultra melodic "Waverley Street." Credit Mitchell's street smarts and highly developed melodic inventiveness as the focal point for this definitive session. In many ways, this is a parallel album to the Miles Davis classic Kind of Blue, with subtle undertones driven by fourth-gear swing. This reissued CD, with bonus tracks, kicks off with the famous "Minor Vamp," of which Fuller's original take for the Savoy label has been remixed and layered, and is heard in the acid jazz dancehalls. It's a familiar sparse line, a two-note vamp tacked onto a lithe, perky melody that needs no critique -- it's simply great! More concisely rendered hard bop follows on "The Head," not complex by any means, but filled with plenty o' soul. The hardest line crops up during "Top Shelf," featuring a memorable, cutting, precise solo by Heath. Fuller and Heath lay out so you can hear in full dimension the cozy and warm persona of Mitchell on the ballad "Park Avenue Petite," but especially on the bright, easy swinger "Blue Soul," which most accurately approaches Kind of Blue. In tribute to his then boss, Horace Silver, "Nica's Dream" features Mitchell's muted trumpet over an underlying fresh bed of trombone and tenor sax. Even more so, Mitchell's deep blue horn shines on the standard "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," an organ of sheer beauty and one to be studied for those who need to learn that playing fewer notes more musically is an admirable quality. The alternate takes feature longer solos by Mitchell except "Minor Vamp," but "Vamp" and "Park Avenue Petite" are actually previously unissued first takes for this single CD. This is one of the most precious jazz recordings of a year that would soon give way to the Blue Note sound, and is in many real and important ways as much of a prelude as any other statement. It's a must-have for all serious mainstream jazz fans.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/04/2008
Label: Riverside
UPC: 0888072305083
catalogNumber: 30508

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blue Mitchell Sextet   Primary Artist
Curtis Fuller   Trombone
Jimmy Heath   Tenor Saxophone
Philly Joe Jones   Drums
Wynton Kelly   Piano
Blue Mitchell   Trumpet
Sam "Stovepipe No. 1" Jones   Bass

Technical Credits

Jimmy Heath   Composer
Horace Silver   Composer
Benny Golson   Composer
Orrin Keepnews   Reissue Producer,Annotation,Original Album Producer,Original Liner Notes
James Van Heusen   Composer
Paul Bacon   Cover Design
Harris Lewine   Cover Design
Rick Mitchell   Composer
Larissa Collins   Art Direction

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