We all know that vinyl is back in a big way, its popularity stoked by younger audiences that enjoy higher quality audio and, just perhaps, the novelty of owning a physical product instead of mere sound files.
Blue Note Records is marking its 75th anniversary by releasing its 100 most iconic albums on vinyl. The series gets started today with re-mastered editions of John Coltrane “Blue Train,” Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers “Free for All,” Wayne Shorter “Speak No Evil,” Eric Dolphy “Out to Lunch” and Larry Young “Unity.” Five albums will be released in each of the ensuing months.
The New York Times in reporting this story notes there may be room for quibbles given the depth of Blue Note’s catalog and the label’s remarkable legacy.
Blue Note Records holds a special place in the hearts of jazz fans. Since its founding in 1939, the label has recorded many of the most important names in jazz — a list limited just to saxophonists would include Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Joe Lovano, Jackie McLean, Sonny Rollins and Wayne Shorter — and chronicled the development of influential movements like hard bop, 1960s avant-garde and, more recently, jazz incorporating hip-hop textures.
The list highlights the depth of the Blue Note catalog, nearly 1,000 titles, and also lends itself to the kind of parlor games that jazz fans always love to play: Who got slighted? Who is overrepresented? The floor is now open to readers’ suggestions (and complaints). Is there anyone on the list you would have left off? And do you think that the recordings chosen to represent each artist are necessarily their best? What alternative choices would you have made?
“You can’t go wrong with that list, but yeah, it’s arbitrary, so you’re still going to miss a lot,” said Don Was, president of Blue Note “It was actually supposed to be 75 for the 75th year anniversary, but we couldn’t agree on 75, so we had to expand it to 100.”
Tell us which other albums should have been included in Blue Note’s list of 100 essentials and which perhaps should have been left off.
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