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Blue Note Classic Vinyl Reissue Series All-Analog 180g Vinyl LP Mastered by Kevin Gray Directly from the Original Master Tapes and Manufactured at Optimal in Germany
The Classic Vinyl Reissue Series is the continuation of Blue Note’s acclaimed Blue Note 80 Vinyl Reissue Series, which was created in celebration of the 80th anniversary of Blue Note Records in 2019. The series presents affordable, high-quality reissues in standard packaging that are mastered by Kevin Gray of Cohearent Audio and manufactured on 180g vinyl at Optimal Media in Germany. The pressings are all-analog whenever an analog source is available, with Gray mastering directly from the original master tapes.
Blue Note Records has recorded the legends of Jazz and has traced the entire evolution of the music from the early days of Boogie Woogie, Hot Jazz and Swing, through the innovations of Bebop, Hard Bop, Post-Bop, Soul Jazz, Avant-Garde, and 70s Fusion, and into the vibrant sounds of Jazz’s many modern-day incarnations. The Classic Vinyl Series is curated by Don Was and Cem Kurosman and is broad in its scope. The series reissues the best-known Blue Note classics from the 1950s and 60s, but also goes deeper, exploring the many different eras and styles of the legendary label’s eight-decade history with the aim of telling their story and fully representing the Blue Note motto: The Finest In Jazz Since 1939.
One of the funkiest and most creative organists of all time, Dr. Lonnie Smith was first brought into the Blue Note fold by alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson who featured the B3 virtuoso on late-1960s soul jazz classics including Alligator Bogaloo, Mr. Shing-a-Ling, and Midnight Creeper. Smith went on to sign with Blue Note and lead his own dates beginning with his excellent 1968 label debut Think! In January 1969 Smith returned to Van Gelder Studio to record the follow-up Turning Point with a dynamic 6-piece band that packed a punch with a 3-horn frontline featuring Lee Morgan on trumpet, Julian Priester on trombone, and Bennie Maupin on tenor saxophone. The rhythm section featured guitarist Melvin Sparks and was anchored by the propulsive drumming of Leo Morris (aka Idris Muhammad).
The 5-song set produced by Francis Wolff opens with a hard-grooving take on Don Covay’s “See Saw,” which was a hit for Aretha Franklin the year before. Other choice covers include a laid-back version of “People Sure Act Funny” by Titus Turner and Bobby Robinson and an inventive reworking of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” that injects the Lennon-McCartney gem with a healthy dose of soul. Two Smith originals round out the album including the smoldering “Slow High” and the expansive album-closing title piece which kicks into high gear after a rubato introduction by Smith.
Lonnie Smith, organ
Lee Morgan, trumpet
Julian Priester, trombone
Bennie Maupin, tenor saxophone
Melvin Sparks, guitar
Leo Morris, drums