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Mosaic: A Celebration Of Blue Note Records by The Blue Note 7

Blue Note Records is commemorating the label’s 70th Anniversary in 2009 with the release of Mosaic: A Celebration Of Blue Note Records, an eight-song collection of classic Blue Note repertoire interpreted by The Blue Note 7, an all-star cast of musicians who are presently hailed as jazz music’s standing lions. The line up for Mosaic includes musical director and current Blue Note recording artist, Bill Charlap, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, alto saxophonist/flutist Steve Wilson, guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Lewis Nash. The CD features new renditions of such jazz classics as Thelonious Monk’s "Criss Cross," Herbie Hancock’s "Dolphin Dance," McCoy Tyner’s "Search For Peace," and Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers tune and the album’s lead title "Mosaic." Charlap tells in a press release, "We chose to record compositions that would honor the label and its key players, whittling It down to 8 of our favorites from Blue Note’s wide-ranging and extensive catalog."

The album opens with a lofty plumage of big band feathers as The Blue Note 7 herald in the title track. The flutter of the saxophone, the ringing twitters of the piano keys, and the massive mushrooming spins in the drum rolls gives this number its animated traits. The band coalesces a smooth jazz make-up attired with laid back grooves and sprinkles of glittering horns and complimenting keys through "Inner Urge," while their rendition of Tyner’s "Search For Peace" is even smoother with warmth and solace emanating from the gentle curtseys of the horns and soft meandering trails of the piano keys. The mood of the piece projects a forest of various inhabitants all at ease with one another, an approach that band adapts on "Little B’s Poem" as the melody floats elegantly on the wings of a comfortable breeze and a magnetic alacrity in its springy beats.

The fancy-free feel of Wilson’s flute is an image of beauty gliding weightlessly across the piece. The bubbly rhythmic patterns of "Criss Cross" indulge the band’s craving for phrases with hard-bop pizzazz and this one gives it to them. The soft crystallization of "Dolphin Dance" is plotted out by the sparkling glow from each instrument producing a field of rhinestones glinting in a graceful synchronization. The band gives "Idle Moments" a sullen gait as the guitar chords lobe into softly weeping arches and the soothing whispers of the horns comfort around them. The band proceeds into the final track with glee emitting from their fingertips. Their remake of Horace Silver’s "The Outlaw" gives the tune a spree of hops and zing that you experience with Latin flavors. The track entails lively saxophone vamps with crackles of sprinting piano hops. It will entice your feet to move and your heart to beat with more joy.

The liner notes detail how the Blue Note jazz club was formed and how The Blue Note 7 emerged. Established in 1939 by two jazz aficionados and immigrants from Berlin, Alfred Lion and Frank Wolf, the Blue Note club was built in New York City as a platform for pure jazz artists. It became a haven for hard-bop artists in the mid-50s, a music form that drew from rural blues and gospel music and essentially began with a Blue Note album, Horace Silver And The Jazz Messengers. The Blue Note 7 was conceived to carry out what this album initiated, a group of jazz musicians who carried jazz music’s flag. Mosaic is more than a tribute album for the Blue Note’s 70th Anniversary, it celebrates the music of past jazz artists and shows that the flag continues to be passed on through forthcoming generations.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: The Blue Note 7
  • CD Title: Mosaic: A Celebration Of Blue Note Records
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Blue Note
  • Tracks: Mosaic, Inner Urge, Search For Peace, Little B’s Poem, Criss Cross, Dolphin Dance, Idle Moments, The Outlaw
  • Musicians: Nicholas Payton - trumpet, Steve Wilson - alto saxophone and flute, Ravi Coltrane - tenor saxophone, Peter Bernstein - guitar, Bill Charlap - piano and musical director, Peter Washington - bass, and Lewis Nash - drums
  • Rating: Three Stars
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