This incredible 4-CD boxed set from Mosaic chronicles trumpeter Lee Morgan's complete sessions as a leader in the 1950's for Blue Note. Through the set, one can hear the progression from a Clifford Brown influenced player(although the unmistakable Morgan touch is there) to a fiery, highly inventive soloist that would catapult him to superstardom later on. Morgan is surrounded by all star players that include: Hank Mobley, Arthur Taylor, Philly Joe Jones, Horace Silver etc. and they inspire Lee to perform at a very high level. Highlights include a August 25, 1957 date featuring George Coleman, Curtis Fuller and Art Taylor. As well as a 9/29/57 date(recorded two weeks after John Coltrane's historic Blue Train album) featuring Pepper Adams, Bobby Timmons, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones.
Lee Morgan recorded for Blue Note in the late '50s, playing seven dates between 1956 and 1958. Morgan was still in his teens at the time and half of the joy of The Complete Blue Note Lee Morgan Fifties Sessions is hearing the trumpeter develop at a rapid rate. The four-disc box set The Complete Blue Note encompasses sessions with Horace Silver, Paul Chambers, Benny Golson, Wynton Kelly, Sonny Clarke, Doug Watkins, and Art Taylor. Morgan may have been young at the time these were recorded, but he was impressive even at the beginning, playing blistering hard bop and lyrical ballads with equal ease. He may have gone on to record greater, more influential albums but this music remains exciting, vital, and simply joyous.
Of all the Blue Note artists of the 1960s, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley may very well be the most underrated. A consistent player whose style evolved throughout the decade, Mobley wrote a series of inventive and challenging compositions that inspired the all-stars he used on his recordings while remaining in the genre of hard bop. For this lesser-known outing, Mobley teams up with trumpeter Donald Byrd, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Billy Higgins for four of his songs (given such colorful titles as "A Dab of This and That," "No Argument," "The Hippity Hop," and "Bossa for Baby"), along with a song apiece from Byrd and Jimmy Heath. An excellent outing, fairly late in the productive career of Hank Mobley.
Features material from The Connection, Shades Of Redd, and an Unissued Session! Available in a box set as either three LPs or two CDs, this limited-edition release has all of the music recorded at pianist Freddie Redd's three Blue Note sessions. In addition to the selections originally included on the LPs Music From the Connection and Shades of Redd, there is a completely unissued date that adds to the fairly slim Freddie Redd discography. Altoist Jackie McLean (who is on all three sets) and tenor saxophonist Tina Brooks (a key soloist on two) co-star with the pianist; trumpeter Benny Bailey is also heard from the later date. The music is comprised mostly of Redd's originals (including seven songs written for the stage play The Connection) and fits into the style of the mainstream hard bop of the day, although with a few personal touches. Straight-ahead fans and Blue Note collectors can consider this set to be essential.
Drummer Art Blakey led many great editions of the Jazz Messengers from the inaugural mid-'50s sessions until his death in the '90s. While arguments rage regarding which was his best, there is no doubt that the 1960-1961 unit figures in the debate. This wonderful six-disc set, notated with care and painstaking detail by Bob Blumenthal, covers studio and live sessions from March 6, 1960, to May 27, 1961, with the same personnel on all but two songs. Producer Michael Cuscuna used only first issue dates, and while he included some alternate takes, he did not litter the discs with second-rate vault material. They smoothly detail the band's evolution, cohesion, and maturation. This set, as with all Mosaic boxes, goes beyond essential. Get it post haste.