Vinyl Spotlight: Lou Donaldson, Gravy Train (Blue Note 4079)

May 16, 2017 /

This is the fourth original mono pressing of this album I’ve owned. Why would I be so persistent for this album? While the title track is one of my all-time favorite soul jazz numbers, the truth is I’m not a huge fan of this album in its entirety, and I’ve largely pursued an original so diligently because I love the album cover so much. Lou… More→

Vinyl Spotlight: John Coltrane, My Favorite Things (Atlantic 1361)

May 9, 2017 /

At the tender age of twenty, my introduction to jazz came by way of a cassette tape that the guitarist in my band let me borrow. Side one was Kind of Blue and side two was My Favorite Things. At that time, the tape was little more than something I put on when I wanted to relax, but both albums have stuck with me and… More→

Vinyl Spotlight: Johnny Coles, Little Johnny C (Blue Note 4144)

May 2, 2017 /

I’m sure you guys get tired of me saying “this is one of my favorite albums” but I’m saying it again, deal with it! Song for song, start to finish, this is a brilliantly executed body of work, and session pianist Duke Pearson deserves the lion’s share of the credit. As composer of five of the album’s six tracks, Little Johnny C demonstrates… More→

Vinyl Spotlight: Thelonious Monk, Misterioso (Recorded on Tour) (Columbia 2416)

April 25, 2017 /

As big of a Thelonious Monk fan as I am, I don’t collect original pressings of Monk LPs. There are several reasons for this: 1. Some of Monk’s most inspired recordings were for Blue Note in the late ’40s and early ’50s. As a result, they are not high-fidelity and I don’t find myself seeking out older recordings like this on vinyl. 2. Though Monk’s… More→

Vinyl Spotlight: John Coltrane, Blue Train (Blue Note 1577)

April 18, 2017 /

I’m surprised by how many people recommend this album to jazz novices because I don’t necessarily find it to be an “accessible” listen. Slowly it has become one of my top jazz albums but I didn’t like it initially and ignored it for quite some time. Coltrane’s solos here can be “difficult”, and this may not be something most people can identify… More→

Vinyl Spotlight: Hank Mobley with Donald Byrd and Lee Morgan (Blue Note 1540)

April 4, 2017 /

It’s been a while since I first discovered this album but I’m pretty sure I first heard it on Spotify back when they had that cool Blue Note app that allowed you to sift through the albums like actual records. This album mesmerized me instantly; the thunderous chorus of horns that introduces the album alerts the listener to the arrival of jazz royalty. More→

Vinyl Spotlight: Horace Silver, Song for My Father (Blue Note 4185)

March 21, 2017 /

It makes sense that Song for My Father is part of many people’s introduction to the jazz genre. It is not only an essential part of the classic jazz canon, it is also a very accessible album. The minimalist structure of “Calcutta Cutie” and “Que Pasa” should cause just about anyone’s ears to perk up and listen. The album has… More→

Vinyl Spotlight: Andrew Hill, Black Fire (Blue Note 4151)

March 14, 2017 /

First and foremost, I think this is one of the greatest album covers of all time. I love the juxtaposition of the bold strips of various hues of red with the cartoony black-and-white illustration of fire beneath. Reid Miles’ cover design speaks volumes and yet again complements the music incredibly well. More→