Pete Callard celebrates 75 years of jazz’ greatest record label. In this, his third article, Pete homes in on some of the guitar players (plus one trumpeter) that have made Blue Note their home through the decades.
Pete Callard continues his celebration of 75 years of Blue Note guitar records.
This year sees the 75th anniversary of arguably the most famous and iconic of all jazz labels - Blue Note Records. In tribute, we’re doing a series of columns celebrating some of the greatest artists associated with the label. In GT235 we introduced a ‘Blue Note Blues’ featuring a chorus each on a jazz blues from some of Blue Note’s legendary horn players, taking in trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and tenor saxophonists Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. Last month we focused on Blue Note pianists Bud Powell, Horace Silver and Herbie Hancock, with Jimmy Smith bringing up the rear on Hammond. This time, after a quick trumpet stop-off with Lee Morgan, we’re moving on to the string section, with notable contributions from guitarists Grant Green, Kenny Burrell and a more recent addition to the Blue Note roster, John Scofield.
Trumpeter Lee Morgan (1938-1972) was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and a prolific solo artist. Morgan’s Blue Note career lasted from his first release, Lee Morgan Indeed! in 1956, until 1971, with a total of 25 albums as leader. He also featured on Blue Note releases alongside Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Smith, Hank Mobley and perhaps most notably, John Coltrane’s legendary Blue Train.
Grant Green (19351979) released his first album on Blue Note, Grant’s First Stand, in 1961 and stayed with the label until 1966, returning for a further five-year spell in 1969. Between 1961 and 1965 Green played on more Blue Note releases than anyone else as leader or sideman, and in his career he ultimately featured on well over 60 Blue Note albums, including 29 under his own name, plus with Lee Morgan, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Smith, Hank Mobley and Stanley Turrentine.
Born on July 31st, 1931, Kenny Burrell released his debut album, Introducing Kenny Burrell, on Blue Note Records in 1956, and continued to record for them through the rest of the 1950s, returning to the label in 1985 and, most recently, in 2007 for 75th Birthday Bash Live! As a sideman, Burrell appeared on Blue Note releases with artists including Thad Jones, Jimmy Smith and Stanley Turrentine.
One of the giants of contemporary jazz guitar, John Scofield (born December 26, 1951) studied at Berklee college and enjoyed stints with Gary Burton, Gerry Mulligan, Charles Mingus and Billy Cobham/George
This time, after a quick Freddie Hubbard trumpet stop-off, we’re moving on to the string section.
Duke before joining Miles Davis in the early 80s. Scofield joined the relaunched Blue Note Records in 1989, exploring a more straightahead jazz style in three albums with his Quartet, followed by a move into soul-jazz territory with Hand Jive and Groove Elation. He also recorded for Blue Note alongside fellow modern jazz guitar greats Pat Metheny (I Can See Your House From Here) and Bill Frisell (Grace Under Pressure).
Grant Green: one of Blue Note’s great guitarists