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April 1999

Hancock, Henderson, Hubbard, Hutcherson Carter, Newton & Williams
Town Hall Concert
Blue Note Records

This reissue documents part of a concert that celebrated the revival of Blue Note Records in 1985. There are five tunes, each with some history in the earlier Blue Note catalog. The original versions are better—as almost always holds true in jazz—and probably the only reason this CD exists is to cash in on the label's 60th anniversary this year.

Hubbard's stabbing trumpet and Henderson's flighty tenor saxophone take the lead on Hancock's funky "Cantaloupe Island" and the saxophonist's "Recorda Me." Hutcherson's vibes join in on the latter and continue on his own "Little B's Poem" and "Bouquet" and Eric Dolphy's "Hat and Beard." Newton's flute suggests the composer on "Hat" but is less quirky. Hancock's piano comping is versatile-and frequently interactive-throughout the album, Carter's bass is too prominent in the mix, and Williams' drums flare up from time to time (but not with the excitement he exhibited behind Miles 20 years earlier).

The music's respectable, but unless you're a Blue Note completist this album is dispensable in the recorded career of each of these artists.

Originally published in April 1999
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