Monday, May 9, 2011

Blue Mitchell - Down With It

After a handful of solid albums as a leader for the Riverside label (see my reviews), and after recording for Blue Note as a member of the Horace Silver Quintet for more than four years, trumpeter Blue Mitchell was given the opportunity to cut a Blue Note album as a leader by Alfred Lion in 1963. However, his debut session, now known as "Step Lightly," did not see the light of day at the time of its recording. Blue was given another chance on July 30, 1964 and the result was the magical "The Thing To Do" (see my review). Blue Mitchell's third Blue Note session, "Down With It," was recorded on July 14, 1965. It features two of his colleagues from the old Horace Silver band, Junior Cook on tenor sax and Gene Taylor on bass. Joining the three Silver alumni are Al Foster on drums and the pianist Chick Corea, who made his recording debut on Blue's "The Thing To Do." Since Blue Mitchell was a Blue Note trumpeter at the height of Lee Morgan's popularity, it is no surprise that "Down With It" features several soulful, Sidewinder-like jazz numbers. But don't assume this is one of Blue's cheesy forays into funk from the later 60s. "Down With It" is a great modern jazz album, and very comparable to Lee Morgan titles like "Charisma" and "Cornbread." For those of you that did not get "Down" in the "Rare Groove" series, thankfully you can pick up this new RVG reissue.

part 1
part 2

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