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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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Blue Note 50999 2 28123 2 2



1. Mosaic
2. Inner Urge
3. Search for Peace
4. Little B's Poem
5. Criss Cross
6. Dolphin Dance
7. Idle Moments
8. The Outlaw
Nicholas Payton - Trumpet
Steve Wilson - Alto sax, flute
Ravi Coltrane - Tenor sax
Peter Bernstein - Guitar
Bill Charlap - Piano
Peter Washington - Bass
Lewis Nash - Drums

A wise precept is "Never go back". Attempts to recapture past glories are almost inevitably doomed to failure. This is primarily because the conditions in which those glories were created no longer exist - nor, possibly, do the people who created them. This CD attempts to celebrate Blue Note's 70th birthday with a number of tunes originally recorded by other artists for that label.

It is hard to believe that Blue Note is 70 years old, yet it's true. Alfred Lion started the label in New York in 1939. Assisted by Francis Wolff, Alfred built up an important catalogue of 78 rpm records by such jazz musicians as Sidney Bechet, James P. Johnson and Thelonious Monk. Blue Note became famous for assisting the careers of numerous important artists - among them Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner. The label was also renowned for its innovative designs for LP sleeves as well as its promotion of soul-jazz with such hits as Watermelon Man.

You might expect such trends to be reflected on this tribute album. Horace Silver's The Outlaw is certainly soulful - and the title-track is bluesy, although it somehow lacks the punch that it had when first delivered by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (although Lewis Nash adds a lusty drum solo towards the end). In a way, this new septet is a bit too polite and clean-lined to capture the rough magic of many Blue Note sessions. On the other hand, Renee Rosnes' arrangement of Herbie Hancock's Dolphin Dance lacks the quiet subtlety of the original.

In compensation, McCoy Tyner's Search for Peace is infused with the necessary tranquillity (especially from leader Bill Charlap), albeit after a raucous start; Peter Bernstein's guitar is gently persuasive in Duke Pearson's Idle Moments; and Thelonious Monk's Criss Cross has the necessary petulant quality. However, with only eight tracks providing less than an hour of music, this CD is a bit of a disappointment - and a lost opportunity.

Tony Augarde




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