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Various Artists: Hot Jazz On Blue Note

Starting 50 years ago, with its first recordings of Thelonious Monk, Blue Note has represented the cutting edge of modern jazz, with a list of its major artists alone encompassing most of the giants of the genre. This is truly a stunning record of achievement, but what is forgotten by so many lovers of early hard bop and its subsequent spin-offs and alternative styles is that Blue Note started out as a dedicated organ for the dissemination of traditional jazz as played by its masters. The combined effort of German migr s Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, by the end of the 1940s Blue Note had built one of the best catalogs of pure hot jazz ever recorded by a single company in so brief a period of time. With infallible taste, Lion recorded almost every great jazzman available in the New York environs, most particularly, with an emphasis on the New Orleans and Chicago-associated players then working at such clubs as Nick’s, Eddie Condon’s, Jimmy Ryan’s, the Pied Piper and Cafe Society, as well as on the radio series, “This Is Jazz.”

Unlike any other compilation of classic Blue Note material, save the complete, limited edition collections on Mosaic, Hot Jazz offers the best overall view of Blue Note’s activities and interests prior to their concentration on more contemporary styles. Serving, then, as an introduction to at least three generations of Blue Note collectors and jazz fans in general, this collation of long unheard classics constitutes a release of signal importance, especially at a time when this music is in serious danger of being overlooked and then forgotten in favor of ever increasing truckloads of more current sounds.

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