Review: Various Artists Blue Note Review – Volume Two Spirit & Time
Legendary jazz label Blue Note continue to set a high bar with their subscription-only vinyl boxsets.
This second volume, once again curated by Blue Note President Don Was, expands on the first, following subscriber feedback to include a second classic catalogue reissue album.
Limited to 2,000 copies, there’s an exclusive 2LP 180g vinyl compilation showcasing the label’s drumming roster – highlights include the wonderful Brian Blade, the always listenable Tony Allen and a little Latin flourish from Nate Smith.
Digging into the archives, the box also features an audiophile reissue of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers’ album Africaine, recorded in 1959 but only released 20 years later.
Blakey’s on scorching form here on the propulsive Haina, while new boy Wayne Shorter – who makes his debut with the Messengers on the record – shines on the title track and the highly melodic Lester Left Town. Splendid lives up to its name as an impressive ensemble piece.
The second archive release is Bobby Hutcherson’s Patterns LP, recorded in 1968 but left languishing in the vaults until 1980. It’s unfathomable how that happened, as this is another fine long-player from the vibraphone master. The breathless title track and low-key tribute to Martin Luther King A Time To Go impress alongside delicate flute work from James Spaulding on Effi.
Rounding out the package are lithographs, trading cards, a fanzine of academic essays on relevant artists and a book on jazz drummers that serves as a perfect accompaniment to the compilation. You even get a Blue Note branded anti-static record brush.