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Blue Note Records

With the overwhelming success Norah Jones has had for Blue Note, it’d be easy to think that the historic jazz label would want to dip its tootsies a little deeper into the folk-chanteuse pool. But based on the musicians who are recording or mixing new albums for Blue Note, it looks like jazz is still the label’s flesh and blood (though not necessarily its bread and butter). No word on the release dates of any of these CDs, but we imagine they’ll be out be the spring and summer, when the musicians will perform at high-profile festivals throughout the world.

Pianist Jason Moran (pictured) recorded his band, the Bandwagon, at the Village Vanguard during Thanksgiving week 2002. The Bandwagon trio, which includes Moran, bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, had a weeklong engagement at the club.

Pianist Chucho Valdes recorded a new CD in Havana in May 2002, but visa problems, which also kept him away from the Latin Grammy Awards ceremony, meant he couldn’t get back to the U.S. until recently to mix the album.

Vocalist Dianne Reeves, with her new band featuring pianist Peter Martin, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, has been in the studio recording a standards CD with Midas-touch producer Arif Mardin. Guests include guitarist Romero Lubambo and trumpeter Nicholas Payton.

Later this month, saxophonist Joe Lovano will celebrate the release of an all-star project CD, ScoLoHoFo’s Oh!, with John Scofield, Dave Holland and Al Foster. But in September 2002 he recorded the nonet featured on his Grammy-winning 52nd Street Themes CD live at the Village Vanguard.

Vocalist Kurt Elling and his trio are recording their new CD this month. Guests include vibist Stefon Harris and eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunter, and the album will feature new words written for songs by the likes of Joe Zawinul, Pat Metheny and Herbie Hancock, among others.

Finally, guitarist Pat Martino also hits the studio in January. The album, his fourth for the label, will feature Lovano, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash.

Originally Published