"The Tokyo Blues", a quintessential mid-'60s Blue Note session, is Horace Silver's tribute to the Japanese people who have long supported his funky, Latin-flavored modern jazz. American jazz has always been wildly popular in Japan, and this album is Silver's homage to the many fans that he has encountered on various triumphant tours of the island nation. While Silver's trademark funky Latin/swing is at the forefront, the inspiration of eastern delights is clearly evident in all aspects of this grooving date.
Bobby Hutcherson is rightfully considered one of the best vibraphonists in the history of jazz. He's also one of the most innovative and esoteric as his recordings for Blue Note in the mid to late 60's display.
Even by the supremely high standards of Blue Note Records in the mid-1960s, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson's HAPPENINGS was a rare event. This superb quartet session (with Herbie Hancock on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass and Joe Chambers on drums) remains not only the pinnacle of Hutcherson's outstanding career but one of the absolute best of sixties jazz dates.
Easily one of jazz's greatest vibraphonists, Bobby Hutcherson epitomized his instrument in relation to the era in which he came of age the way Lionel Hampton did with swing or Milt Jackson with bop. He isn't as well-known as those two forebears, perhaps because he started out in less-accessible territory when he emerged in the '60s playing cerebral, challenging modern jazz that often bordered on avant-garde.
Coming fresh on the heels of his groundbreaking work with Eric Dolphy, Bobby Hutcherson's debut album is a masterpiece of "new thing" avant-garde jazz, not really free but way beyond standard hard bop.
Consisting purely of jazz versions of African American spirituals, it is one of a series of theme records recorded by the guitarist in 1962.
From the original liner notes: "Green has made no attempt here to recreate the five spirituals he plays in anything resembling their original context, nor has he tried to duplicate their often pallid manifestation on the concert stage. He has approached them with affection, but as music to be played in his style. The result is a fascinating combination: the techniques of modern jazz, blues, and gospel, all applied to the spiritual." - Joe Goldberg
Jazz has always had a soft spot for pop music. Icons like trumpeter Louis Armstrong blessed the masses with his positivity and raspy voice in 1967's "What a Wonderful World" and saxophonist John Coltrane transformed Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1960 musical smash "My Favorite Things" into a swinging affair. Fast forward to 2014 as singer, songwriter and producer Jose James continues the practice with a fine rendition of 1972's "Simply Beautiful" by the one-time prince of R&B, vocalist Al Green.
After the unqualified critical, chart, sales, and Grammy successes of the Robert Glasper Experiment's two Black Radio albums, remixes, and singles, the need to explore was requisite. ArtScience is a reflection of the qualities and musical interests that brought this band together. Their seamless meld of contemporary jazz, hip-hop, neo-soul, pop, and rock has influenced a host of artists following in their wake. This album marks a new modus operandi: it's the first time the band has written and produced collectively. (Even the two covers here were arranged by the unit.) It's also a first in that there are no guest vocal cameos. The set was recorded in New Orleans over two weeks apart from the endless touring and hustling solo careers of its members.