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Blue Note: In the Studio

Blue Note Records is gearing up for a busy summer, and six of its artists are hitting the studios to record or finish new albums.

Vibraphonist Stefon Harris (pictured left) has put the final touches on his fourth Blue Note release, The Grand Unification Theory. The CD is an 11-movement suite composed and arranged by Harris for a 12-piece jazz ensemble.

Crossover vocalist Rachelle Ferrell is compiling an album of performances recorded over three different summers at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The Eddie Green trio, a small group led by George Duke, and a large orchestra accompanies her on the recording, which focuses primarily on jazz standards.

Although many people have had trouble pinning down the musical style of vocalist Patricia Barber, she’s calling it jazz. “I’m going to insist that my years of sucking in smoke and playing for $100 a night entitle me to assert that this is jazz and this is what it sounds like in 2000,” she says. Barber, the daughter of saxophonist Floyd “Shim” Barber and a blues-vocalist mother, put out her first release on her own record label, Floyd Records (named after her father). She is now preparing her third album for Blue Note/Premonition. Trumpeter Dave Douglas and drummer Joey Baron join Barber on the disc, along with her regular bassist, Mike Arnopol, and guitarist, Neal Alger, as well as a string section on one tune.

Paul Jackson Jr. is one of the most recorded guitarists in the world. He has played with Whitney Houston, Lionel Ritchie, Chicago, Anita Baker, the Crusaders, Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis and Sergio Mendes. He enters the studio in April to record his second Blue Note CD, which will feature smooth jazzers Paul Brown and Brian Culbertson helping Jackson work out the funk on several originals and instrumental covers of R&B hits.

Jason Moran will also be in the studio in April, recording a solo album that will be his personalized history of jazz piano. The conceptualized session is a tribute to the masters that have influenced him.

And finally, ax-slinger Pat Martino will take his guitar-organ formula into the studio with B-3 man Joey DeFrancesco, saxophonist Joe Lovano and drummer Brian Blade in May.

Originally Published