JAZZIZ Editors’ Choice Playlist: Blue Note Favorites

Eighty years ago, a German immigrant and passionate jazz fan named Alfred Lion produced his first recording session in New York City with two boogie-woogie pianists, founding what would become the most respected and longest-running jazz label in the world: Blue Note Records.

The label’s 80-year history is a remarkable one, spanning nearly the entire timeline of jazz and comprising almost all of its genres. A bebop and hard-bop mainstay during the 1950s and ’60s, the album was relaunched by Bruce Lundvall in 1984 and devoted itself with renewed vigor to documenting today’s vibrant and creatively thriving jazz scene. Today, under the leadership of current president Don Was, the label has played host to an array of exciting, genre-crossing young artists like Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire and Norah Jones, ensuring that its future is a long and promising one.

The label will be celebrating its 80th anniversary throughout the year with a host of exclusive product launches, including a vinyl catalog reissues, a Blue Note Review boxset subscription series, a documentary film, live events, branded apparel, art prints of classic Blue Note imagery, streaming initiatives and more. Here at JAZZIZ, we decided to join in on the celebration by sharing a few of our favorite tracks, as chosen by our web editors Brian Zimmerman and Matt Micucci. Below, you’ll find classic Blue Note tunes from almost every era of the label’s existence, by some of the biggest names in jazz. They’re in heavy rotation in our offices. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Listen on: qobuz

Matt Micucci’s Picks:

Blue Train – Remastered 2003
John Coltrane
Blue Train (Expanded Edition)

Art Blakey
Moanin’ (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

Song For My Father
Horace Silver
Song For My Father

Wayne Shorter

Cantaloupe Island
Herbie Hancock
Empyrean Isles

The Sidewinder
Lee Morgan
The Sidewinder (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

Come On In My Kitchen
Cassandra Wilson
Blue Light ‘Til Dawn

Midnight Blue
Kenny Burrell
Midnight Blue (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

One For Daddy-O
Cannonball Adderley
Somethin’ Else (Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

Brian Zimmerman’s Picks

The Moontrane
Larry Young
Unity (Remastered / Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry
Dexter Gordon
Go! (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

Maiden Voyage
Herbie Hancock
Maiden Voyage

Infant Eyes
Wayne Shorter
Speak No Evil

Un Poco Loco 
Bud Powell
The Amazing Bud Powell: Vol. 1 (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

Afro Blue
Robert Glasper Experiment, Erykah Badu
Black Radio

Monaco – Set 1 / Live From Cafe Bohemia/1956
Kenny Dorham
The Complete ‘Round About Midnight At The Cafe Bohemia (Live)

Ruby, My Dear
Thelonious Monk
Genius Of Modern Music (Vol.1, Expanded Edition)

He Died Fighting
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band

Jackie McLean, Herbie Hancock

The Nearness Of You
Norah Jones
Come Away With Me

Back At The Chicken Shack
Jimmy Smith
Back At The Chicken Shack

Grant Green
Idle Moments

Little B’s Poem
Bobby Hutcherson

Ambrose Akinmusire
When The Heart Emerges Glistening

Passion Dance
McCoy Tyner
The Real McCoy (Remastered / Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

Freddie Hubbard

New Monastery
Andrew Hill
Point Of Departure (The Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

Take Me To The Alley
Gregory Porter
Take Me To The Alley

Cool Struttin’
Sonny Clark
Cool Struttin’ (Remastered / Rudy Van Gelder Edition)

It Never Entered My Mind
Miles Davis
Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums

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