Blue Note Turns 80: Hear Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, More Remastered

The reissues are part of the label's 80th anniversary celebration

Blue Note at 80 Kenny Burrell

In commemoration of the legendary label’s 80th anniversary, Blue Note Records has been re-releasing landmark recordings throughout 2019 every few months from artists such as Kenny Burrell, Dexter Gordon and Andrew Hill among others in its Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series

The latest round featuring Burrell, Gordon and Hill were all originally produced by Blue Note Records co-founder/owner Alfred Lion. Those albums were engineered and recorded by Rudy Van Gelder with art work from Reid K. Miles and photography by Blue Note Records co-founder/owner and celebrated photographer Francis Wolff.

The next album set for re-release is Born to Be Blue (1962) from Grant Green. That one is due out October 25. The album, which features Ike Quebec, is often thought of as the sister album to Quebec’s Blue and Sentimental, which was recorded for Blue Note three months prior. Quebec’s deep, soul-drenched tenor sound matches with hard bop masters Green and pianist Sonny Clark. 

Aficionados should note that all of these albums have the striking cover art Blue Note Records originated. The new recordings also feature a gatefold album record album package with additional photographs and 108-gram weight vinyl albums and album sleeves.

For the music, the original analogue master tapes were used for remastering all of the entries in the series.

There are 18 releases planned for the year. Burrell’s entry – his 1956 debut Introducing Kenny Burrell– has Burrell playing alongside Tommy Flanagan on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, Kenny Clarke on drums and Candido on conga and drums. The album features Burrell breezing through a set list influenced by West Coast jazz.

On the album, Burrell combines bebop and the blues with smoky aplomb. The session launched the career of one of the giants of modern jazz guitar who would go on to record his magnum opus Midnight Blue for Blue Note in 1963.

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The offering from Dexter Gordon – Clubhouse  – originally released in 1979; however, it was recorded in 1965. Joining Gordon for the sessions were Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Barry Harris on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums.

The album features Gordon during his late bebop period as well as a spirited performance from Higgins, who played on several Blue Note recordings during that era.

Andrew Hill’s Black Fire, first released in 1963, is the second album from the acclaimed pianist who had toured with Miles Davis and Charlie Parker as a teenager. Black Fire has Hill exploring the avant-garde, which he expounded on in later albums as he dove deeper into modal jazz experimentation. Roy Haynes on drums, Richard Davis on bass and Joe Henderson on tenor sax joined Hill for one of Blue Note’s defining releases.

For more on the series, click here.

A full list of the albums in the series, with release dates, is below.

February 8
Wayne Shorter: Etcetera (1965)
Chick Corea: Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (1968)

March 15
Sam Rivers: Contours (1965)
Cassandra Wilson: Glamoured (2003)

April 26
Gil Evans: New Bottle Old Wine (1958)
Joe Henderson: The State of the Tenor: Live at the Village Vanguard, Volume 2 (1985)

May 31
Lou Donaldson: Mr. Shing-A-Ling (1967)
Lee Morgan: Cornbread (1965)

June 28
Baby Face Willette: Face to Face (1961)
Dexter Gordon: Clubhouse (1965)

July 26
Kenny Burrell: Introducing Kenny Burrell (Blue Note, 1956)
Andrew Hill: Black Fire (1963)

September 6
Donald Byrd: Chant (1961)
Stanley Turrentine: Hustlin’ (1964)

October 25
Grant Green: Born to Be Blue (1962)
Tina Brooks: Minor Move (1958)

November 15
Hank Mobley: Poppin’ (1957)
Stanley Turrentine: Comin’ Your Way (1961)