Uncompromising Expression: 75 Years of the Finest in Jazz
Out of the basement and under the tree!
Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., Dec. 12, 2014
Uncompromising Expression: 75 Years of the Finest in Jazz(Blue Note)
Instead of another well-worn hits collection, this wonderfully diverse compilation of 75 singles, originally issued as 78s or 45s, covers the extraordinary history of premier jazz label Blue Note from its debut release, 1939's "Melancholy" by pianist Meade Lux Lewis, right up to last year's Grammy-winning vocalist Gregory Porter. The 5-CD set divides into eras: From Boogie to Bop (1939-1953), Messengers, Preachers & Hard Bop (1953-58), Struttin', Moanin' & Somethin' Else (1958-1960), Bossa, Blues & Hits (1961-65), and Can You Dig It? (1969-2013). In addition to touchstones including John Coltrane's "Blue Train," Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder," and Art Blakey's "Moanin'" are genuine treasures from Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Smith, Horace Silver, and Cassandra Wilson – all released as singles. Uncompromising Expression also partners with a spectacular, 400-page coffeetable extravaganza sporting the same title, which documents Blue Notes' history with artist and session photos (most taken by label co-founder Francis Wolff), iconic album cover artwork, and descriptive, critical text from Richard Havers.