sexta-feira, 9 de novembro de 2012

Blue Mitchell - Plays for Lovers

  1. The Nearness of You
  2. When I Fall in Love
  3. Why Do I Love You
  4. Polka Dots and Moonbeans
  5. But Beautiful
  6. I Can't Get Started with You
  7. There Will Never Be Another You
  8. How Deep Is the Ocean
  9. I'm A Fool To Want You
  10. Turquoise
  11. Missing You
  12. For All We Know
  13. Peace
Plays for Lovers

In the '60s, Prestige launched its Plays for Lovers series with LPs by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and others. The concept was jazz as romantic mood music -- collections of previously released material that are dominated by ballads and emphasize a player's more lyrical side. Fantasy has long since acquired the Prestige catalog, and in the 2000s, it helped keep the Plays for Lovers concept alive -- not only with Prestige recordings, but also with recordings from the Fantasy-owned catalogs of Riverside, Contemporary, and other labels. The Blue Mitchell Plays for Lovers collection, in fact, doesn't contain a single Prestige recording; all of the material originally came out on Riverside. In 2003, the late Mitchell was an obvious choice for a Plays for Lovers release because the Clifford Brown-influenced trumpeter was, quite simply, a superb ballad player. He had no problem swinging aggressively at a fast tempo, but he was equally skillful when it came to ballads -- a fact that is obvious on Blue Mitchell Plays for Lovers, which spans 1958-1962 and finds him playing quite soulfully on "I Can't Get Started," "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," and other famous Tin Pan Alley standards. Not everything on the 61-minute album is a ballad; Cedar Walton's "Turquoise" is a moody, dusky post-bop offering that is played at a medium tempo. The tune's appealing melody bears a slight resemblance to the standard "You Don't Know What Love Is," and even though "Turquoise" is faster than any of the other selections, it doesn't really disrupt the overall mood and ambiance -- it's a momentary diversion but not an outright disruption. Besides, the Plays for Lovers series was meant to be ballad-heavy but not ballad-exclusive; being dominated by ballads isn't the same as excluding medium-tempo material altogether. And when all is said and done, Blue Mitchell Plays for Lovers lives up its title. 

(By Alex Henderson from allmusic.com)

Owner of a direct, lightly swinging, somewhat plain-wrapped tone that fit right in with the Blue Note label's hard bop ethos of the 1960s, Blue Mitchell tends to be overlooked today perhaps because he never really stood out vividly from the crowd, despite his undeniable talent. After learning the trumpet in high school -- where he got his nickname -- he started touring in the early '50s with the R&B bands of Paul Williams, Earl Bostic, and Chuck Willis before returning to Miami and jazz. There, he attracted the attention of Cannonball Adderley, with whom he recorded for Riverside in 1958. That year, he joined the Horace Silver Quintet, with whom he played and recorded until the band's breakup in March 1964, polishing his hard bop skills. During his Silver days, Mitchell worked with tenor Junior Cook, bassist Gene Taylor, drummer Roy Brooks, and various pianists as a separate unit and continued recording as a leader for Riverside. When Silver disbanded, Mitchell's spinoff quintet carried on with Al Foster replacing Brooks and a young future star named Chick Corea in the piano chair. This group, with several personnel changes, continued until 1969, recording a string of albums for Blue Note. Probably aware that opportunities for playing straight-ahead jazz were dwindling, Mitchell became a prolific pop and soul session man in the late '60s, and he toured with Ray Charles from 1969 to 1971 and blues/rock guitarist John Mayall in 1971-1973. Having settled in Los Angeles, he also played big-band dates with Louie Bellson, Bill Holman, and Bill Berry; made a number of funk and pop/jazz LPs in the late '70s; served as principal soloist for Tony Bennett and Lena Horne; and kept his hand in hard bop by playing with Harold Land in a quintet. He continued to freelance in this multifaceted fashion until his premature death from cancer at age 49. 

(By Richard S. Ginell from allmusic.com)
 

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