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.
A soul survivor in every sense of the term, this alto saxophonist is one of the few remaining jazz artists who made a major impact on the jazz community via an extensive run with producer Alfred Lion and the Blue Note label (Horace Silver being another Blue Note legend that comes to mind). From his first recordings for the label with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, it was clear that Lou Donaldson put melody and sound at a premium, coming up with an amalgam that combined the creamy smoothness of Johnny Hodges with the quicksilver bop inflections of Charlie Parker.
During his comeback years (1959-62) after a decade mostly off the scene, tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec recorded frequently for Blue Note. He started off with a session aimed at the 45 jukebox market and, although he eventually made a few full-length albums for the label, Quebec cut four 45 dates over a two-and-a-half-year period. This double-disc set has all of the jukebox sessions. Most of the 26 selections clock in between four and seven minutes and have long melody statements in addition to concise and soulful solos. Quebec, who was in consistently prime form during his last period, is joined by groups featuring either Skeeter Best or Willie Jones on guitar and Edwin Swanston, Sir Charles Thompson, or Earl Van Dyke on organ. Fun, loose and highly enjoyable music.
The Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions is an attractive six-disc box set featuring all of Dexter Gordon's '60s recordings for the label in chronological order. Such classic albums as Dexter Calling and Go! were recorded during these years, and they are presented in their entirety, as are two complete sessions that have been previously unavailable on CD and several unreleased alternate takes. For serious Gordon fans and musicologists, it's an essential collection, but its very thoroughness makes it less appealing to casual fans, who would be better off acquiring the individual albums.