Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Blue Note 7 celebrate 70 Years

On January 13th, legendary jazz label Blue Note Records celebrated its 70th anniversary. To help commemorate the occasion, the label is releasing Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records, an eight track album performed by an all-star line-up who've dubbed themselves The Blue Note 7. The septet includes pianist, musical director, and current Blue Note recording artist Bill Charlap with trumpeter Nicholas Payton, tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, alto saxophonist/flutist Steve Wilson, guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Lewis Nash.

The seven artists have pulled eight songs from the label's storied history, eight tracks that they feel pull from and at least partially represent the diversity of players the label has hosted over the years. Mosaic, the album's title track which was originally performed by Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers (nine days out of ten my favorite jazz musicians - sometimes ousted by Bird and Dizzy, but usually not) opens things up. Then the Blue Note 7 works their way through classics by Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Hutcherson, Thelonius Monk (another personal favorite), Herbie Hancock (another-nother personal favorite), Grant Green, and the Horace Silver Quintet.

Of course, any jazz musician worth their weight in beans wouldn't be content to simply echo others' work, and the Blue Note 7 are no exception. Listen to the opening cut below, along with the original to see what they do to make the songs their own. The septet is now on tour in support of the anniversary and the album. You'll be able to see them perform some of the tracks from the album as well as other legendary cuts from the deep Blue Note catalog.

Tour Dates

1/27 San Diego, CA Anthology Club
1/28 Mesa, AZ Mesa Arts Center
1/29 Wickenburg, AZ Del E. Webb Center
1/30 Tucson, AZ University of Arizona/Centennial Hall
2/17 Boone, NC Appalachian State Univ./Farthing Auditorium
2/18 Nashville, TN Vanderbilt University/Langford Auditorium
2/20 Kansas City, MO The Gem Theater
2/21 Omaha, NE Holland Performing Arts Center/Kiewit Hall
2/22 St Louis, MO Sheldon Concert Hall
2/24 Meridian, MS Mississippi State University/Riley Center
2/26 Baton Rouge, LA Shaw Center for the Arts/Manship Theatre
2/27 Lafayette, LA Heymann Performing Arts Center
2/28 Birmingham, AL Alys Stevens Center/Jemison Concert Hall
3/1 Germantown, TN Germantown Performing Arts Centre
3/13 Detroit, MI Orchestra Hall/ Max M. Fisher Music Center
3/14 Lexington, KY Singletary Center for the Arts
3/15 Louisville, KY Kentucky Center for Performing Arts
3/16 Chicago, IL Columbia College Chicago (Private Event)
3/18 Norman, OK Sooner Theatre
3/19 Columbia, MO Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts
3/20 Chicago, IL Chicago Symphony Center/Orchestra Hall
3/21 Appleton, WI Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
3/23 Sheboygan, WI Lakeland College/ Bradley Fine Arts Building
3/25 Sioux Falls, SD Orpheum Theater
3/26 Lincoln, NE University of Nebraska/Lied Center
3/27 Ames, IA Iowa State University/ Stephens Auditorium
3/28 Milwaukee, WI Wilson Center for the Arts
3/29 Minneapolis, MN Orchestra Hall
4/1 Worcester, MA Mechanics Hall
4/2 Hanover, NH Dartmouth College/Spaulding Auditorium
4/3 Philadelphia, PA Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
4/4 Pittsburgh, PA Manchester Craftmen's Guild
4/5 Washington, DC Kennedy Center/ Terrace Theater
4/6 Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre Center/ Matthews Theatre
4/8 University Park, PA Penn State University/Eisenhower Auditorium
4/9 Schenectady, NY Proctor's Theatre
4/14-19 New York, NY Birdland

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