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The Blue Note Years
Various Artists
The Blue Note Years
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #4
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #5
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #6
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #7
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #8
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #9
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #10
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #11
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #12
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #13
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #14

Packaged in a deep-blue LP-size box, this 14-CD megaset is a wide-angle retrospective on Blue Note Records, from its 1939 birth to the label's most recent artists. The bonuses are myriad but begin inarguably with the accom...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: The Blue Note Years
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Blue Note Records
Original Release Date: 11/17/1998
Release Date: 11/17/1998
Album Type: Box set
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
Styles: Avant Garde & Free Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Modern Postbebop, Soul-Jazz & Boogaloo, Swing Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Bebop, Vocal Pop, Funk
Number of Discs: 14
SwapaCD Credits: 14
UPC: 724349642720

Packaged in a deep-blue LP-size box, this 14-CD megaset is a wide-angle retrospective on Blue Note Records, from its 1939 birth to the label's most recent artists. The bonuses are myriad but begin inarguably with the accompanying booklet, filled by label cofounder Francis Wolff's in-studio photographs, all taken during the 1950s and 1960s and conveying a palpable musicality.Boogie, Blues & Bop: 1939-1955. Most listeners forget Blue Note's earliest sides, the meat of their founding. Here you get Albert Ammons's "Boogie Woogie Stomp" and Sidney Bechet's dramatic read of "Summertime." The surprises are many, from Babs Gonzales's Three Bips and a Bop to Ike Quebec offering great swing-time work as well as his more hard-bop persona. Then there are the categorical greats, Thelonious Monk, J.J. Johnson, Herbie Nichols, and Miles Davis, each of whom cut limited Blue Note sessions. This is the seeding ground, the place from which Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff grew their label into a standard-bearer for all varieties of jazz in the 1950s and 1960s.The Jazz Message: 1955-1960. These two CDs might pose the greatest number of names to single out. Where to begin? Horace Silver? Hank Mobley? Cannonball Adderley's session with Miles? Do we praise tracks by Bud Powell and Jackie McLean at the exclusion of a Sonny Rollins or a Lou Donaldson tune? Simply put, there are no weak moments here. This set opens, appropriately enough, with a hard-charging Jazz Messengers track, "Minor's Holiday," featuring the instantly recognizable thunder of Art Blakey. More than two hours later, Dexter Gordon concludes "The Jazz Message" with an ineffably swinging "Society Red." In between are the gloriously proud, gleaming moments of fundamental Blue Note: classy, distinguished and locked onto ideas with an amazing concentration and, yes, grace. Thrilling.Organ and Soul: 1965-1967. While organ jazz is often described as funky or bluesy, at its essence, it is vividly impressionistic. Why, in the hands of masters like Jimmy Smith or Baby Face Willette, a Hammond B3 organ can evoke a myriad of specific times, places, and emotions is one of the true and glorious mysteries of jazz. On this set, Blue Note's organ men take their bows followed by the likes of the label's down 'n' dirty squadron of funk and soul players like Lou Donaldson, Lee Morgan, and Grant Green. Organ and Soul is an indispensable collection of one of Blue Note's more underappreciated periods. It's also absolutely required for any late-night listening session.Hard Bop and Beyond: 1963-1967. This bustling set is led by names like Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Hank Mobley, and Lee Morgan--musical voices synonymous with lean, economical jazz and no-nonsense straight bop. Short of the Pete LaRoca track, "Lazy Afternoon," there are few surprises on this set, but what is included is, of course, exceptional. Not only is this set an excellent illustration of Blue Note's Middle Ages, it also shows how incredibly deep the label's roster was at this time. Hard Bop and Beyond, if not a powerful creative statement, does make the case for rock-solid consistency.The Avant Garde: 1963-1967. While Blue Note is certainly not known for its dedication to avant-garde or free jazz, this set proves they certainly had some rather substantial moments. Yes, Larry Young's "Moontrane" could have been slotted on the Organ and Soul set, but contributions from Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, and Cecil Taylor (all represented here) helped set the table for the next generation of jazz. A quibble: Why only one selection each from Cherry and Taylor, both musicians continually cited by contemporary players across all genres?Blue Note Now as Then. Capitalizing on the legacy of Blue Note's canon of peerless tunes, these two CDs use current and recent artists from the label to look at timeworn classics. It's a true portrait of the 1950s and 1960s, with Fareed Haque's sextet with Jerry Dodgion and Erik Friedlander taking on Horace Silver's emotive "Song for My Father," which gave the world a fetching glimpse of Joe Henderson's saxophone brilliance. There are nods to Kenny Dorham and Ornette Coleman, among others, and the tunes show an inarguable contemporary interpretive depth, a world away from the stoic realm of jazz's "young lions."The New Era. There was a period in the 1970s and 1980s when Blue Note Records seemed absent, or at least in disarray. Maybe it was the rise of commercial fusion, maybe not. In any case, this last pair of CDs addresses the fusion craze with some of its highpoints, including Ronnie Laws's "Agelina" and Stanley Jordan's "Lady in My Life." But the set expands into a full-fledged abridgement, cueing up the fantastic (and underaccorded) co-op quartet fronted by Don Pullen and George Adams on "Song from the Old Country." From slinking grooves to hot-chop blasts, this is the aural equivalent of a multipaneled map of the label's best post-1970s work. --S. Duda and Andrew Bartlett

CD Reviews

Why must you get the Blue Note Years boxed set ?
André Sainderichin ( | Antwerp, Belgium | 03/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Everything about this box oozes passion, insight, taste, understanding. The box itself, the book and its wonderful Frank Wolff photographs, the very good notes that come with each CD. Do I like every recording ? Nope. Do I feel that all choices are relevant ? I think probably not. Is this really an exhaustive overview? Heck, no! But I forget all that when I take the box in my hands, read some of the materials, listen to some tracks: this is the work of people totally absorbed by jazz, totally committed to sharing their passion. It's a tribute to the Blue Note label and its founders, to the artists and their music, and to everyone of us who cares about jazz.My advice? Go out now, get your copy!André"
The best jazz collection out there...
S. Sigel | Rochester, NY USA | 07/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I bought this sprawling box set when it first came out in 1998, and ten years later, I still listen to it regularly. Simply put, the musicians featured on these discs reads like a whose who list of the best jazz players of the 20th century assembled together on the best jazz label in existence! If you are new to jazz or a returning customer, this is the set to buy. Highly recommended!"
I Give It 500 Stars
marleyscott | Long Island, NY | 08/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Simply put, Blue Note was and still is the premire jazz label on the planet! This compilation distills the the essence of the finest jazz illuninarires of the 20th century. Where else can one find master-works by the likes of Thelonious Monk, Sidney Bechet, Bud Powell, Wynton Kelly, Milt Jackson, J.J. Johnson, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Tadd Dameron, Art Blakey, Sonny Clarke, Jimmy Smith, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Burrell, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Johnny Griffin, Cannonball Adderley, Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Tony Williams, Joe Lovano, Sonny Rollins and more?With a roster like this, it's like putting together a baseball team comprised of every player enshrined in Cooperstown. If you want to own just one jazz anthology, look no further. This is the one to get."