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75 Years of Blue Note Records to Be Honored in Two Years of Reissues

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Blue Note 75

Venerable jazz label Blue Note Records celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and they’re celebrating well into the next year with an ambitious campaign that will see parent company Universal Music Group reissue dozens of titles on vinyl through 2015.

Founded in 1939 by mogul Alfred Lion and musician Max Margulis, Blue Note started as your average traditional jazz label before 1947, at which point the company started to focus on innovations in the genre, namely bebop and hard bop. Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Art Blakey, Fats Navarro, Hank Mobley, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock are just a few names that recorded for the label at some point in their storied careers. The label began to fade by the late ’60s, when it was acquired by Liberty Records, which was in turn acquired by United Artists (the conglomerate of which was bought by EMI in 1979). However, an early CD-era reissue program saw the name revived in the mid-’80s, and the label became associated with many of Capitol-EMI’s jazz ventures since – most notably Come Away with Me, the Grammy-winning 2002 debut album by Norah Jones.

Of the ambitious venture to release classic albums from the Blue Note repertoire on vinyl, five at a time, between this March and October of 2015(!), label president and noted producer Don Was issued this statement:

Two years ago, we decided to begin remastering the jewels of the Blue Note catalog in hi-def resolutions of 96k and 192k. In order to develop a guiding artistic philosophy for this delicate endeavor, we donned our lab coats, ran dozens of sonic experiments and carefully referenced every generation of our reissues. Ultimately, we decided that our goal would be to protect the original intentions of the artists, producers and engineers who made these records and that, in the case of pre-digital-era albums, these intentions were best represented by the sound and feel of their first-edition vinyl releases. Working with a team of dedicated and groovy engineers, we found a sound that both captured the feel of the original records while maintaining the depth and transparency of the master tapes…the new remasters are really cool!

While these new versions will become available in Digital Hi Def, CD and the Mastered for iTunes formats, the allure of vinyl records is WAY too potent to ignore. This year, Blue Note – along with our friends at Universal Music Enterprises – is launching a major 75th Anniversary Vinyl Initiative that is dedicated to the proposition that our catalog should be readily available at a low cost – featuring high quality pressings and authentic reproductions of Blue Note’s iconic packaging. Beginning in March 2014, we’ll start rolling out five remastered vinyl reissues every month. Although this program begins in celebration of Blue Note’s 75th Anniversary, our catalog runs so deep that we will faithfully be reissuing five albums a month for many years to come!

The first two batches will be available in stores March 25 and April 22, featuring titles by Coltrane, Rollins, Hancock, Adderley, Wayne Shorter and more. Pre-order links for these vinyl reissues are after the jump; click here for the full list of planned titles!

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 4, 2014 at 15:00

Impulse Buys Abound from UMe

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Universal Music Group got off to a great start anthologizing the deep catalogue of Impulse! Records with a four-disc box set from Hip-o Select earlier this year. Today, that catalogue is revisited yet again, in the form of 28 albums from the jazz label’s catalogue collected as two-on-one discs.

The titles are pretty diverse, collecting sets from Duke Ellington, McCoy Tyner, Alice Coltrane, Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, Milt Jackson and others.

You can order each of the titles on Amazon here and check out the track lists after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 26, 2011 at 13:47

Short Takes: Legacy’s New Essentials, Concord’s New Jazz Reissues and a Catalogue Score from Perserverance

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  • Legacy’s latest release schedule update promises three new titles in the Essential series: Paul Revere & The Raiders, Django Reinhardt and Eartha Kitt. All are going to be double disc sets, and specifically, the Raiders set (compiled by Bob Irwin of Sundazed Music) will feature some promo-only tracks and some mono single mixes. All are due on March 15.
  • Concord has four new reissues of classic jazz titles also planned for March 15. They are Monk’s Music (1958) by Thelonious Monk, Cal Tjader/Stan Getz Sextet (1958), Ugetsu (1963) by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and Ella Fitzerald and Oscar Peterson’s Ella and Oscar (1975). At least two of them will feature bonus tracks. Read here for some more info.
  • Perseverance Records, which scored a coup in the film score world by releasing the soundtracks to Red Sonja and Rain Man last year, have another victory on hand: the music to the 1989 sci-fi film Slipstream, composed by Elmer Bernstein. It’s due on an unspecified date in the future.