Six classic jazz albums, featuring John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver and Larry Young are being re-released by Blue Note/EMI in high definition audio, digitally remastered from their original analog master tapes.
All of the albums include original sleeve notes plus additional photos and newly-written package essays.
The new releases include: Coltrane’s Blue Train, Dolphy’s Out To Lunch, Hancock’s Maiden Voyage, Shorter’s Speak No Evil, Silver’s Song for My Father and Young’s Unity.
“In preparing these hi def remasters, we were very conscientious about maintaining the feel of the original releases while adding a previously unattainable transparency and depth,” said Blue Note President Don Was in a statement.
“It now sounds like you’ve set up your chaise lounge right in the middle of Rudy Van Gelder’s studio!”
In 1957, while in the midst of finding his own voice on the tenor saxophone in bands led by jazz freedom riders Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, Coltrane enlisted pulled together a band and created Blue Train, a 40-minute-plus masterwork that stands as one of the greatest jazz records of all time.
It was only Coltrane’s second album as leader, and his sole recording under his own name for Blue Note Records.
Dolphy veered into the contrarian zone in his musical approach on his one and only Blue Note album, 1964’s Out To Lunch. Breaking away from the clichés of post-bop jazz and speaking boldly on his array of instruments (flute and alto sax, as well as bass clarinet), Dolphy’s sometimes abstract and off-kilter yet often whimsical album turned heads and opened ears. It has gone down in jazz history as one of the genre’s masterpieces.
By the time he recorded Maiden Voyage in 1965, Hancock had been in the Miles Davis Quintet for several years, an experience he, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams all described as transformative.
Shorter’s 1965 album Speak No Evil is a series of long tones outlining placid, open-vista harmony. There are layers. The notes of the melody tell one story; the chords nudge the musicians someplace else, a realm where theory lessons are of limited value and instinct matters more than intellect.
Song for My Father stands as the milestone of Silver’s oeuvre, not only for its snappy songs (most originals, no songbook standards), but also for its top-tier ensemble interplay. Silver’s pianism is unmistakable in its percussive bounce, with his light pounce on the keys fashioning chords that contribute to the hard bop rhythm.
Embracing modal harmony and the freer, more open structures/language favored by the rising crew of post-bop musicians, Young expanded commonly held notions of what was possible on the instrument; his brisk, restless, masterfully syncopated performances on his album brought the organ into the modern post-bop conversation.