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Blue Note Records: The Biography (7)

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The year 1957 was for Blue Note Records the year of expansion in terms of recording sessions (fourty-seven)  and booming  sales. Blue Note Records was on its way of becoming The record label for jazz.

It was also the year where now famous musicians, who started as important sidemen to Blue Note, made their “debut” as leaders, like Curtis Fuller and Sonny Clark. It was also the year that saxophonist John Coltrane made his first and only album for the label.

During a somewhat chaotic meeting John Coltrane and Alfred Lion agreed on a record deal by means of a handshake, nothing formally documented. What happened was that during the meeting the Blue Note cat jumped out of the window and producer Alfred Lion instantly went outside to rescue the cat. He managed to do so but when he returned to the office John Coltrane had left.

In spite of the fact that he had a contract with Prestige Records, Coltrane kept his promise to Lion and recorded “Blue Train” in the fall of 1957. He brought with him five compositions of which four were his own. The fifth was the Kern/Mercer composition “I’m Old Fashioned”.

Coltrane also brought with him an impressive line up of musicians: Curtis Fuller (tb), Lee Morgan (tp), Kenny Drew (p), Paul Chamber (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (ds). Listen to this video recording of “Moment’s Notice” with some of Coltrane’s unusual harmonic twists in the melody.

Source: Cook, Richard – Blue Note Records, The Biography.


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