This year marks the 80th anniversary of Blue Note Records, the legendary label that continues to deliver some of the most striking jazz music ever recorded. In recent years, Joe Harley spearheaded an audiophile vinyl reissue series called Music Matters which included many Blue Note classics. Over a decade has passed since the inception of that project and now, Harley and Blue Note president Don Was have launched a new initiative called the Tone Poet Audiophile Reissue Series.
The series will feature two new reissue titles every month from February to November, covering classic albums and overlooked releases from the entire span of Blue Note's 80-year history, selected by Joe Harley. Each title is all-analog, mastered from the original master tapes, pressed onto 180-gram audiophile vinyl, and housed in deluxe gatefold packaging. Mastering is being handled by Kevin Gray at CoHEARent Audio and the vinyl is being manufactured at Record Technology Incorporated.
The goal, according to Harley is "to allow listeners to know what it would sound like to actually be in Rudy's living room in Hackensack or later in Rudy's studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ." To achieve that goal, he aims to bring listeners the most transparent-sounding vinyl reissues possible: "We do not roll off the low end, boost the top or do any limiting of any kind. We allow the full glory of the original Blue Note masters to come though unimpeded! Short of having an actual time machine, this is as close as you can get to going back and being a fly on the wall for an original Blue Note recording session."
As for the visuals, Harley promises that the gatefold jacket's cover graphics and printing quality will be unmatched, saying, "extreme attention to detail has been paid to getting these right in every conceivable way."
The first two albums in the series - Wayne Shorter's Etcetera and Chick Corea's Now He Sings, Now He Sobs - were released on February 8 and are available now from all fine record shops, as well as Amazon and Blue Note's online store. Sam Rivers' Contours and Cassandra Wilson's Glamoured are on the way, due out on March 15. Those two titles are available now for preorder.
You can find the details and pre-order links for those four titles below, along with a full list of 2019 releases for the Tone Poet Series.
- Toy Tune
- Barracudas (General Assembly)
- Indian Song
- Steps - What Was
- Now He Sings - Now He Sobs
- Now He Beats the Drum - Now He Stops
- The Law of Falling and Catching Up
- Point of Many Returns
- Dance of the Tripedal
- Mellifluous Cacaphony
- Sleight of Time
- I Want More
- If Loving You Is Wrong
- Lay, Lady Lay
- What Is It?
- Heaven Knows
- Honey Bee
- Broken Drum
- On This Train
- Throw It Away
Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series - 2019 Schedule:
- Wayne Shorter - Etcetera (Blue Note, 1965/1980)
- Chick Corea - Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Solid State, 1968)
- Sam Rivers - Contours (Blue Note, 1965)
- Cassandra Wilson - Glamoured (Blue Note, 2003)
- Gil Evans - New Bottle Old Wine (World Pacific, 1958)
- Joe Henderson - The State of the Tenor: Live at the Village Vanguard, Volume 2 (Blue Note, 1985)
- Lou Donaldson - Mr. Shing-A-Ling (Blue Note, 1967)
- Lee Morgan - Cornbread (Blue Note, 1965)
- Baby Face Willette - Face To Face (Blue Note, 1961)
- Dexter Gordon - Clubhouse (Blue Note, 1965)
- Kenny Burrell - Introducing Kenny Burrell (Blue Note, 1956)
- Andrew Hill - Black Fire (Blue Note, 1963)
- Donald Byrd - Chant (Blue Note, 1961)
- Stanley Turrentine - Hustlin' (Blue Note, 1964)
- Grant Green - Born to Be Blue (Blue Note, 1962)
- Tina Brooks - Minor Move (Blue Note, 1958)
- Hank Mobley - Poppin' (Blue Note, 1957)
- Stanley Turrentine - Comin' Your Way (Blue Note, 1961)